Congressman Matt Gaetz Votes Against “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act”

June 22, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) today issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act:

“Today, I voted against H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This legislation had an admirable purpose, and one that all Members of Congress can support, regardless of party: fighting the opioid epidemic across America. But the way it sets out to solve the opioid crisis is costly, inefficient, and bad governance. This bill was a “compendium” of fifty different pieces of legislation, many of which overlap in their scope and purpose—and many of which are simply an expansion of the failed Obamacare system. 

H.R. 6 included legislation such as H.R. 5477, which spends a minimum of $256 million for a regional trial program that expands federal Obamacare spending in ten states. It includes H.R. 5810, which expands federal Obamacare spending in Medicaid Health Homes by over $500 million. These two bills alone increase Obamacare spending by nearly a billion dollars. There’s not any guarantee that these two programs will help curb opioid abuse. This is money that would have been far better spent directly in the states, to disburse to treatment centers, community health clinics, or other healthcare institutions who are on the front lines of the fight against opioids.

Opioid abuse is a major problem in America, and trying to find solutions to this crisis is an important and valuable endeavor. I have been on the front lines of cannabis reform as a way to decrease reliance on opioids. Studies have shown the use of these solutions to reduce opioid dependence in states where it is legal for chronic pain management. Congress must act to incorporate these reforms as a common-sense resolution to curb the impact opioid abuse has had on families and communities across the nation. Big-spending, Washington-based programs are not the answer to the opioid addiction. We must develop solutions that empower states and localities, by giving them the resources they need to combat opioid importation, delivery, and addiction. If big-government spending programs could solve the opioid crisis, we would have solved it by now. They don’t. We must do better,” Rep. Gaetz said.