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Trumpcare yanks mental health care and substance addiction treatment from 1.3 million people

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The Republicans’ proposed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as “Obamacare” — will cut mental health and addiction treatment for 1.3 million people, just as the country is struggling to cope with an epidemic of opiate addiction.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that House Republicans admitted under questioning by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) that their ACA repeal-and-replace plan would “remove a requirement to offer substance abuse and mental-health coverage that’s now used by at least 1.3 million Americans.”

“Substance abuse and mental-health services are among the ‘essential benefits‘ states are required to provide under the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, a program that provides health-care coverage to those who can’t afford it,” explained the Post‘s Christopher Ingraham.

In a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Kennedy asked a Republican staffer if these benefits are “no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered, by this version of this text. Is that not correct?”

“The text before us does remove the application of the essential health benefits for the alternative benefit plans in Medicaid,” said a lawyer representing the Republicans on the committee.

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“Including mental health?” said Kennedy.

“Yes,” the lawyer answered.

Ingraham wrote, “If states opt out of providing those benefits, Medicaid recipients would not only lose coverage for mental-health care, but also coverage for care aimed at addressing substance abuse treatment, a critical area of care given the current drug overdose epidemic many states are dealing with.”

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The Post pointed to an estimate by health-care economists Richard Frank of Harvard and Sherry Glied of New York University, who said that about 1.3 million Americans’ sole access to these services is through the ACA.

Kennedy and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) attempted to amend the bill to restore the federal mandate for essential benefits, but it was voted down along party lines.

“It’s potentially devastating,” Kennedy told the Post. “You’re going to have over a million people, many of whom are struggling with an opioid epidemic that’s wreaking havoc on our streets across the country, ripping these benefits at a time when they need them the most.”

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Kennedy has called the Republican bill “an act of malice” toward the American people.

“There is is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury,” he said. “There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill… This is not an act of mercy — it is an act of malice.”

Economic stagnation, a lack of mental healthcare services and loose regulations on drugmakers and prescribing doctors have caused the opioid crisis to spiral rapidly out of control and is leading to an uptick of HIV transmissions in some areas that are already critically underserved by the healthcare system.

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The epidemic of opioid abuse, addiction, dependence and overdoses costs the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $78.5 billion per year.

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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island

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ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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‘Names are going to start coming out’: New report says more elites will be exposed in the Epstein case — and ‘DC is on edge’

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Will other powerful people — presumably men — get taken down as a result of the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein?

That’s the hope of many closer followers of the story, but it’s far from clear what, if any, fallout there will be. Epstein’s connections to Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have raised suspicions about potential evidence of their wrongdoing, such suspicions remain unproven. Alan Dershowitz has already faced accusations of being involved in Epstein’s crimes, though he denies the charge vigorously.

But a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that “DC is on edge” over the Epstein case, and any elites who have run in his circles could be involved. Dozens of girls, if not more, are believed to be involved in his alleged sex trafficking, and lawyers for some of the women who have accused Epstein are strongly suggesting that other high-profile figures will be implicated.

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‘It’s so un-American’: Internet scorches Trump supporters for racist chants of ‘Send her back!’

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The ignoble highlight of President Donald Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday was when his fans doubled down on his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), chanting "Send her back! Send her back!"

Political commentators of all stripes were gobsmacked by the crowd's naked racism — and buried them in condemnation:

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.

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