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.” 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate