Like many Americans, Kraig Moss put his trust in Donald Trump because he was desperate for change and, along the campaign trail, Trump told them that he was the only one that could bring it.
Moss lost his young son to heroin addiction and enthusiastically supported Trump because he swore that he would solve the growing drug crisis. However, the American Health Care Act, which is nicknamed Trumpcare, and the president's new budget proposal betray everything Trump promised Moss and others who find themselves embroiled in an epidemic.
"He promised me, in honor of my son, that he was going to combat the ongoing heroin epidemic," Moss told The Associated Press. "He got me hook, line, and sinker.
"I had everything riding on the fact that he was going to make things better," he added. "He lied to me."
In the 2016 presidential election, citizens in areas wracked by heroin addiction turned out in surprising numbers to vote for Trump, but the president has since turned his back on them.
His budget proposal would slash funding for addiction treatment and research, while dramatically impacting Medicaid, which The Associated Press reports covers approximately three in 10 people struggling with opioid addiction. This is a recipe for disaster when paired with his health care bill, which would allow states to choose to weaken an Affordable Care Act rule that private insurance must cover addiction treatment.
A recently-released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis reports that this could ultimately cost those struggling with addiction and their families thousands of dollars a year in states that choose to relax the rule.
"I didn't see this coming," said Paul Kusiak of Massachusetts, a father whose son has successfully battled his way out of addiction.
Kusiak shared that hard-won triumph with Trump when the president was still on the campaign trail.
"I'm trying desperately to have hope and take the president at his word," Kusiak added.
Others are not so optimistic.
"Inside I'm screaming," California resident Sandra Chavez told The Associated Press. "We're going backwards with Donald Trump's plan."
Chavez's son died from a blood infection caused by his drug abuse.
Pam Garozzo of Pennsylvania lost her son to an overdose in December. She attended a "listening session" at the White House in March on opioid addiction and the drug crisis, and she said she left feeling like the president was going to help save other families from a tragedy like hers. But the budget plan has shown her the heartbreaking truth.
"We're losing a whole generation of young people to this disease," she explained, and Trump's cuts run "counter to what we thought he was going to do."
Trump has proposed to severely cut funding for addiction prevention and to completely eliminate the federal support needed to train addiction specialists. The Associated Press notes that he would also do away with funding for the Department of Justice's community policing anti-heroin task forces and cut millions from drug courts and programs that monitor prescription drug abuse.
It is no over-dramatization to say that he has effectively sentenced Americans to hard lives and terrible deaths while their families are left to grieve.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters