New Hampshire Rep. Just Asking: Does Medicaid Expansion Make You Shoot Heroin?
Here's some unconventional thinking from New Hampshire state Rep. Dan McGuire: maybe the reason that New Hampshire has so much heroin addiction is that Medicaid has been expanded in the state, and hence more people have access to addiction treatment. So maybe more people are getting hooked on heroin, knowing they can get treatment from Mama Welfare State. It's nice to see that our state legislators are thinking about the unintended consequences of well-intentioned actions, isn't it?
McGuire is one of those Free State loons who moved to New Hampshire to turn it into a libertarian paradise -- and who genuinely believes that the minimum wage causes poverty, since people whose work is only "worth" $3 or $5 an hour are shut out of the job market. Just so you know where he's coming from. He brought up the intriguing possibility of Medicaid causing you to shoot up China White on a local political talk show, Rock, Paper, Hand Grenades. The show is hosted by Rep. Gary Hopper and Matt Connarton, and they brought up a recent jump in heroin overdoses, which foolish liberals suggest may indicate that the state's social safety net is in trouble. Ah, but not so fast, says McGuire: what if knowing that you can get all the sweet addiction treatment you want actually leads people to start taking a whole lot of heroin?
“Do you think that’s related to expanded Medicaid?” asked McGuire.
“Why?” responded Hopper.
“Because expanded Medicaid now has substance abuse disorder treatment. So you’re more able to get substance abuse treatment than you were previously,” McGuire answered.
“But wouldn’t that imply that there would be less of that?” asked Hopper.
“If it’s valuable,” answered McGuire. “But maybe it’s a little easier to maintain yourself in that situation. I don’t know.”
“In other words, it enables people to feel comfortable staying addicted because there is a safety net?” asked Hopper.
“I think that’s possible,” replied McGuire. “The two things seem to be happening at roughly the same time, you know. Are they causal or related? I don’t know.”
Ah, but doesn't that video just cut off mid-discussion, unfairly giving the impression that McGuire is A Idiot? Because We Care, we watched the rest of the discussion (around the 33 minute mark forward), in which Hopper went on to say that as far as he knows, the only programs that work to stop addiction are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, "and they're free!"
McGuire chimed in with an anecdote about a state legislative employee who told him about how they'd been a heroin addict, hit rock bottom, and then turned their life around and went to college, so really, the point is that "nobody else can do it for you, you've got to do it for yourself, right? You've got to decide for yourself to stop." As everyone knows, anecdotes like that sure do trump medical research! Hopper finally acknowledged that maybe some detox is necessary, what with the whole physical withdrawal thing, but honestly, since nothing works to cure everyone, why waste money on it?
All in all, this is some pretty impressive thinking! We're looking forward to Rep. McGuire's upcoming call for cuts to spending on mental health care, which just encourages people to go crazy, and for the treatment of cancer, which just encourages cells to start multiplying all willy-nilly -- and even with treatment, a lot of people still die. Isn't it damn well time that people started taking responsibility for themselves?