Oct 21, 2018

The White House's next steps on opioids

Trump speaking about the opioid crisis in March. Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The White House will roll out the next phase of its response to the opioid crisis this week, roughly a year after President Trump’s high-profile declaration that the epidemic constitutes a public-health emergency.

Details: On Wednesday, Trump will sign Congress' recently passed opioids legislation, which, among other things, eases limits on Medicaid funding for addiction treatment and expands access to medication-assisted treatments similar to methadone. He’ll be joined in the East Room by roughly 20 other organizations announcing their own initiatives, senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview.

  • Health insurer Cigna will roll out a new initiative for veterans, and Emergent Biosolutions will announce it’s donating doses of Narcan, the overdose-revival drug, to every public library and YMCA in the country, Conway said.

Where it stands: Congress and the Trump administration have steered billions of dollars to help with the crisis, and most of that work has been bipartisan, highlighted by the fact the bill Trump is signing passed the Senate 98-1.

  • But overdose deaths are still climbing — as they were well before Trump took office — though Conway said the administration is encouraged by the declining rate of growth in overdose deaths.
  • "This crisis could well get worse before it gets better. We’re trying to bend the curve in the right direction," Conway said.

What’s next: The White House’s anti-opioids advertising campaign is continuing, and First Lady Melania Trump is also slated to speak at Wednesday’s event. Conway said opioids are the one public policy issue that the Trumps work on together.

  • Yes, but: Many public-health experts are skeptical these ads will make a big difference. The most important thing, they say, is more money for treatment programs. Congress and the White House have provided more than $6 billion so far, but the crisis is still far from over.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: 16 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About 16 million Americans have filed for jobless benefits over the past three weeks due to the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Both the federal government and individual states are surveying different models of when it will be safe enough to reopen some parts of the economy and allow Americans to return to work. President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 1,506,936 — Total deaths: 90,057 — Total recoveries: 340,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 432,596 — Total deaths: 14,831 — Total recoveries: 24,235Map.
  3. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  4. Federal government latest: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.
  5. Public health latest: Dr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  6. States latest: New York's coronavirus death toll hits record high for third straight day.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Your hydroxychloroquine questions answered.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump plans second coronavirus task force focused on the economy

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy, which has been battered by the coronavirus, two administration officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: There is growing energy within the West Wing to start easing people back to work by May 1. But some public health officials, including those on the coronavirus task force, have warned against doing so, raising concerns about reopening America too soon.