This Recovering Opioid User Worries that the GOP Health Bill Will Be Her Death Sentence

Meet Shelby.

On Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats blasted the draconian cuts to Medicaid proposed by the Senate health bill, highlighting the spiraling opioid epidemic taking hold across the country. The bill would cut an estimated $772 billion over ten years from Medicaid, the country’s leading payer for addiction treatment. (For more of what the Senate bill would mean for the opioid epidemic, check out our explainer.)

Among the participants in the Dems’ D.C.  press conference was a woman from West Virginia named Shelby, who, like thousands of others, depends on Medicaid for opioid addiction medication. 

“Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t have a family. Without Medicaid, I’d be dead,” she said. Shelby used opioids “from the street” for three years until she began a treatment program funded by Medicaid. “It was like someone handing their hand out to me and pulling me out of the hole,” Shelby said. “If this bill goes through,” she explained through tears, “the next time you might see my name in any paper might be in the obituary.” 

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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