Just imagine if the U.S., or for that matter any other country in the world, had universal health care. The horror, where everyone is on opioids!!! Oh, other countries have universal care and they don't have the same problem as the U.S? That's our Dumb Ron Johnson.
The fantasy was that Medicaid expansion is to blame for the opioid crisis in the United States. The ringmaster was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Johnson has been flogging this notion for the better part of a year, or longer, despite the utter lack of evidence that it’s true — and plenty of evidence that the opposite is true.
From NPR, I caught this audio clip of Johnson's embarrassing freak out:
Johnson even put out a Homeland Security report listing coincidences and pure mumbo-jumbo all on official paper shown above with link.
Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times had a field day with Johnson's lunacy, with graphs and facts. Maybe Hiltzik should be in charge of Homeland Security:
The witnesses included one anti-Medicaid ideologue, two local prosecutors who testified that they’ve seen a lot of addicts in their work and lots of them seem to be on Medicaid, and two experts who, tactlessly, pointed out that the causes of the opioid epidemic are many and complex, that it started years before Medicaid expansion, and that it involves patients and doctors in Medicare and private insurance as well as the uninsured. As Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis University told Johnson’s committee, this was the product in part of the drug industry’s “brilliant, multifaceted marketing campaign that changed the culture of opioid prescribing.”Here are the charts...
The Republican campaign against Medicaid could only make the opioid crisis worse. That’s because Medicaid pays for a huge proportion of opioid treatments, covering fully one-third of those with addiction problems.
A chart reproduced from a report he released Wednesday pinning the crisis on Medicaid fraud paired five Medicaid expansion states with neighboring non-expansion states, purporting to show much higher increases in opioid deaths in the expansion states from 2013 to 2015. Johnson didn’t seem to notice that the 55% increase in Maine, one of his non-expansion states, actually exceeded the increase in three of his expansion states — Ohio (41%), Maryland (44%) and West Virginia (27%).