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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Sen. Sherrod Brown Wants Ohioans To Weigh-In On the Senate's Healthcare Proposal

photo of Sherrod Brown, Thomas Gilson

Sen. Sherrod Brown was in Cleveland yesterday encouraging people to make their voices heard about the proposed Senate Health Care Bill -- which could be voted on this week -- and what it could do to Ohio’s battle against opioid abuse.

The senator – a Democrat -- spoke at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland. The inpatient detox facility there sees about 65 percent of its opioid patients paid for through the Medicaid expansion created under Obamacare. The new plan would wipe that out. Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed was also there, and asked, “If the overarching goal is to save people’s lives, the question has to be asked, ‘why are we cutting Medicaid?’”

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says he doesn’t want to be cynical about the potential funding cut, but “if you’re not going to support treatment for people who can recover, you should expect that you’re going to see more people die of a disease.”

Sen. Brown wants Ohioans to weigh-in on the healthcare proposal.

“Talk to my office, talk to Sen. Portman’s office, talk to House members – because if this passes, it goes right back to the House for another vote. And people should weigh in and tell their stories, tell them why this is wrong, tell them if they think it’s as morally reprehensible as I do to give tax cuts to the insurance companies.”

Sen. Brown’s office estimates that Ohio spent about $700 million Medicaid-dollars battling the opioid epidemic last year, while the new healthcare plan is creating a $2 billion pool for the entire country to share for a decade. If split evenly among the 50 states, that works out to a 99.5 percent funding cut for Ohio.

Ohio’s other Senator, Republican Rob Portman, has said he has concerns about Medicaid policies in the bill, especially those impacting drug treatment.

Sen. Brown’s office: 202-224-2315

Sen. Portman’s office: 202-224-3353

Phone numbers for your state and local representatives can be obtained by texting your zip code to 520-200-2223.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. While a Kent State student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.