Kentucky Gov. decries America’s first-ever opioid tax

Kentucky lawmakers are pushing for the nation’s first-ever opioid tax but Governor Matt Bevin says it will not work.

“The vast majority of people who are receiving them through Medicaid. I’m not sure that CMS would do anything other than consider this a provider tax which is not allowed,” Bevin said to FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.”

The proposal was passed by the Kentucky House in early March as part of its budget tax plan. Drug distributors would be taxed 25 cents for every dose sent to the state.

Lawmakers aim to use the expected $70 million in revenue to restore funding to some public schools and higher education programs.

“I don’t think it would result in nearly the financial intake that some were hoping for,” he said.  “They were hoping that this would raise money to pay for other programs that perhaps government doesn’t have the money and shouldn’t be funding.”

They also believe the plan could help decrease the number of opioids coming into the state. Currently Kentucky has the fifth-largest overdose rate in the United States.

But Bevin argued it will not fix the fentanyl problem. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine used to treat or manage severe pain.

“The fentanyl and carfentanil problem is absolutely critical,” he said.