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Brown And Portman Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Treat More Opioid Addicts

Ohio U.S. Sentators Rob Portman, left, and Sherrod Brown.
Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown hear testimony from experts on opiate addiction.

Both of Ohio’s U.S. Senators have introduced a bipartisan bill they say will help combat the opioid abuse problems in the Buckeye State.

Republican Senator Rob Portman and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown say their bill, the Medicaid CARE Act, would raise the cap on beds covered by Medicaid at residential treatment facilities from 16 to 40.

Brown says that means more Ohioans who need treatment for drug addiction can get it.

“We think that will help immensely," Brown says. "It will more than double the number of people who can be treated, in-patient, with beds.”

Brown says the caps were put in place years ago, before the opioid crisis, to save Medicaid dollars. Both senators say the lack of available beds is the number one barrier to getting addicted people on the path to recovery.

Ohio is among the top states in the number of per capita opioid-related deaths.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.