Ron Johnson, Opioids, and the Great Obamacare Smear

Speaking of Sen. Ron Johnson, he’s also the guy peddling the theory that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is making the opioid crisis worse. Doctors are overprescribing opioids to Medicaid recipients, he says, and poor people are then selling them on the black market.

Now, the overprescribing of opioids is a well-known problem, and it’s been associated with doctors who work with all of the following health plans:

  • Employer-based health care
  • Medicare
  • VA hospitals
  • Individual health plans
  • Medicaid
  • Boutique health providers
  • Emergency rooms
  • Military health care
  • All the remaining doctors not associated with any of the above

In other words, the overprescribing of opioids has been associated with every possible health plan in America. But in Johnson’s world, that turns into “Medicaid expansion is making the opioid crisis worse.” Plus there’s this:

The epidemic of opioid overprescribing peaked in 2011, but Medicaid expansion didn’t start until 2014. It could hardly be a driving factor in all this. It’s true, as Keith Humphreys points out, that opioid overdose deaths have kept on rising, but that’s mostly due to heroin and fentanyl, which are black market drugs that have nothing to do with Medicaid.

But Ron Johnson doesn’t care. He bought a ticket for the Trump train, and he’s gonna go wherever the tracks take him.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate