Spending Bill Splits Opinions in Health Care Industry

The $1.3 trillion spending bill does not address new funding for the Affordable Care Act but does allocate increased funds to address the opioid crisis.

President Donald J. Trump Friday signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, which provides full-year appropriations through September 30, 2018, for projects and activities of the federal government, hours after Tweeting that he was considering vetoing the legislation because it failed to fully fund his planned wall across the southern border and provide money for a resolution for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Many in the health care industry celebrated the bill, noting that it contains increased funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, as well as substance abuse programs.

Importantly, the bill increases the amount to fight the opioid epidemic by a whopping 244% to $2.55 billion, according to a highlights sheet from the US Senate. Part of this is an increase of $185 million for opioid programs in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's (SAMHSA) programs for national and regional significance.

"The increased budget for SAMHSA will play a key role in funding and supporting initiatives in the President’s comprehensive plan to combat the opioids crisis in America," according to a statement from a SAMHSA spokesperson. "SAMHSA continues to work to connect people to appropriate treatment resources and to educate health care professionals on the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment, among many other efforts."

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