WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Wednesday called the Republican health care proposal that recently passed the House “the most ill-conceived, damaging and downright cruel piece of legislation” he’s seen in his adult life.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, King denounced the American Health Care Act as “a foolishly misnamed bill that would hurt people across Maine and only make it more difficult for people struggling with drug addiction to obtain the treatment they need,” according to a statement from his office.

King said the bill would not only make coverage more expensive and more difficult to get for people in Maine, but would allow states to waive requirements for insurance companies to provide essential health benefits, such as coverage for substance abuse treatment, or possibly make that treatment unaffordable even if it is required.

“Getting treatment for substance abuse disorder is not easy, but this bill, the American Health Care Act — what a misnamed bill — only makes it worse,” King said.

King cited several young Mainers who recovered from their addictions and abuse disorders because of treatment. 

“I’ve been working on this issue since I got to the Senate,” King said. “I’ve been meeting with people throughout Maine — in hospitals, meeting with people in recovery, and families, and parents, and law enforcement. And the one thing that comes through loud and clear is that treatment works and that we need it.”

King also criticized President Donald Trump’s proposal to effectively eliminate the Office of National Drug Control Policy. 

“Here we are in the midst of the most serious drug crisis in the history of this country and the administration is talking about gutting the very office that’s supposed to lead the fight,” King said. “It makes no sense.”

The health care bill that passed in the House now goes to the Senate. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, voted for the measure; Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree voted against it.

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