Gibbs and Portman Hear the Case for Medicaid in Fighting Ohio's Opioid Crisis

Apr 19, 2017

CommQuest CEO Keith Hochadel (left), Congressman Bob Gibbs, Sen. Rob Portman and Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton were among those at the opioid roundtable.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Congressman Bob Gibbs toured a residential center in Massillon today that treats people addicted to opioids. They also heard arguments that the Medicaid expansion that many fellow Republicans oppose is crucial to such efforts. 

The tour was of two 100-year-old buildings on what used to be the grounds of Massillon State psychiatric hospital. They’ve been renovated and turned over to CommQuest services to provide detox, medication maintenance and residential treatment.

CommQuest and other local officials -- and a recovering addict – told Portman and Gibbs that the Medicaid expansion provides for that treatment, freeing up some local money for job training, housing, psychiatric and other services that make the difference between recovery and relapse.

Portman says the argument is a valid one.

“If we don’t do that, people will be clogging our jails and our emergency room and all of us will pay more in terms of the cost of those institutions, which are not equipped to handle it, and the cost of crime.”

Portman opposed the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act because of concerns about the loss of Medicaid. Gibbs supported the plan. He says state block grants and federal waivers promoted by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could be more effective.

“States, if you’ve got programs, if you’ve got initiatives, come talk to us and we’ll do waivers. We’ll do waivers at the federal level so that you can administer these programs and new initiatives and innovations.”