Rauner removes Medicaid coverage from heroin-overdose bill

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has returned legislation to the General Assembly that attempts to curtail heroin overdoses, fearing a burdensome cost to the state.

The Republican governor used his amendatory veto powers to remove a section from the legislation that requires Medicaid coverage, particularly major addiction-fighting and anti-overdose drugs.

Rauner says requirements for Medicaid coverage are too costly. He says removing utilization controls and pre-authorization would increase the state’s staggering deficit.

The bipartisan legislation would increase the availability of anti-overdose drugs, require first responders to dispense them, and provide more treatment over jail time.

House sponsor Skokie Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says the savings from curing addicts would far outweigh the costs and that restricting Medicaid coverage would cut out a sector from treatment.