Florida Times-Union Editorial: Finally, Word Is Getting Out On The Opioid Crisis

The Florida Times-Union called out Governor Rick Scott in an editorial Friday for putting partisan ideology above Floridians suffering from the escalating opioid crisis.

As detailed in a new five-minute documentary and a 30-page research report released yesterday by American Bridge, Rick Scott’s response to the epidemic has been inadequate and indifferent.

Florida Times Union Editorial: Finally, word is getting out on the opioid crisis
October 12, 2017

  • The deaths arising from opioid overdoses continue in Jacksonville
  • Unfortunately, the ideological opposition to Medicaid among many Republicans, including Scott, have denied many Floridians the help they need.
  • [T]he state Agency for Health Care Administration has proposed budget cuts that would reduce Medicaid payments to hospitals by nearly $1 billion. This would be on top of nearly $500 million in cuts for hospitals during the 2017 legislative session.
  • A hospital lobbyist called the cuts “devastating” and ‘mind blowing,” as quoted in Sunshine State News.
  • The state’s approach that uses a hodgepodge of services for funding hospital emergency rooms is inefficient, wasteful and ultimately cruel to Florida citizens.
  • Scott understands the issues since he has had a family member with substance abuse problems. Yet Scott and others can’t get past their bias against Medicaid.

Read the full editorial.

An estimated 5,300 Floridians died of opioid overdoses last year, nearly doubling the number of deaths from 2014. But while other states dealing with major opioid crises have invested heavily in helping those impacted, throughout Rick Scott’s governorship, he has repeatedly ignored pleas for help and underfunded and vetoed funding for mental health and substance abuse programs. In fact, Florida ranked 49th in the nation in funding for those programs.

Scott also eliminated the Office of Drug Control and refused to expand Medicaid, which would have helped 300,000 Floridians access treatment for opioid addiction.