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January 25, 2017

Wolf to Ryan: 'While you're in Philly, come see how Medicaid access to opioid addiction treatment is saving lives'

Politics Tom Wolf
Budget Matt Rourke/AP

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Wednesday, the same day the Republican House Senate Leadership Conference began in Philadelphia.

So what did he want? In the letter, Wolf extended a friendly invitation for Ryan to join him on a tour of a substance abuse treatment center in Pennsylvania to see "the extraordinary work being done to help those suffering from substance use disorder."

Many of them are using Medicaid during their treatment, the letter said.

"I am respectfully requesting that you join me to visit a treatment center in Pennsylvania," Wolf said in the letter. "In 2015, over 3,500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to this terrible disease, and we expect the numbers for 2016 to be even higher. I will gladly adjust my schedule if you are available this week while you are in the state or, if you are available, I am already scheduled to visit a treatment center in Philadelphia next Monday, the 30th."

Wolf tweeted at Ryan Wednesday morning, too.

Wolf highlighted that his administration created 45 "Centers of Excellence" that help people with opioid use disorders and other medication-assisted treatments.

He said without Medicaid coverage, the state couldn't help people going through their treatment.

Wolf wrote that the Affordable Care Act allowed him to expand Medicaid throughout the state, which helped 700,000 get access to insurance coverage.

"My greatest fear is that cuts to Medicaid and rationing of access to treatment by the federal government will set us back even further and more people will die as a result," the letter said. "This is not hyperbole – access to treatment through Medicaid is keeping Pennsylvanians alive who might otherwise face overdoses or worse."

Pennsylvania adopted Medicaid expansion in August 2014. 

President Donald Trump has been vocal about his desire to repeal the ACA, or Obamacare. One of Trump's first orders of business as president was to sign an executive order that aims to roll back Obamacare.

Ryan recently met with Trump to discuss plans for "replacing and repealing" Obamacare. 

Republican leaders are meeting Wednesday through Friday at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel at 1200 Market St.

Read Wolf's full letter below.

Paul Ryan Letter by Gov. Tom Wolf on Scribd