Maine Addiction Specialists Cheer Senator Collins’ Statement Opposing the Graham-Cassidy Proposal

by ASAM Staff | September 26, 2017

Bill would have devastating impact on addiction treatment access in Maine 

Rockville, MD, September 26, 2017 – The Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine (NNESAM), a Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), commends Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for her bold, thoughtful, and compassionate statement opposing the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As Senator Collins notes, the bill would have a devastating impact on the Medicaid program, which is the largest payer of addiction treatment services in the country, and would weaken protections for persons with pre-existing conditions like addiction.

"We could not be prouder to be represented by Senator Collins on Capitol Hill than we are today,” said Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction specialist physician who treats patients in Portland, Maine, speaking on behalf of the 50 Maine physicians in NNESAM. “This bill would have dramatically reduced access to affordable and meaningful insurance coverage in Maine, meaning fewer people would be able to access life-saving addiction treatment. She made a tough decision, but once again, she made the right one.” 

A recent report from the University of Maine indicates that Maine saw a dramatic 38% increase in drug overdose deaths between 2015 and 2016, driven in large part by an increase in overdose deaths due to non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and heroin. At a time when Maine continues to grapple with the worsening opioid epidemic, reducing access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance, as the Graham-Cassidy proposal would do, would be devastating.