How Repealing the Affordable Care Act Could Affect the Opioid Crisis

February 6th, 2017
Gavel, book, and stethescope

As efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act move forward, there have been questions about how the repeal would affect the opioid epidemic currently throwing the nation into crisis. In The Huffington Post, Michael Botticelli, former director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, argued that the repeal would damage any progress in dealing with the crisis.

The ACA, also known as “Obamacare,” states that addiction treatment must be covered by health insurance and that said coverage needs to be comparable with the treatment approaches for other chronic diseases. Without it, 18 million Americans could lose health insurance by the end of 2018 and thus access to addiction treatment services too, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that among adults with low incomes, the Medicaid expansion that was a suggested addition to the ACA led to an 18.3 percent increase in drug treatment.

“In states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, the uninsured share of substance use or mental health disorder hospitalizations fell from about 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to about 5 percent by mid-2015,” said HHS.

Earlier this month, STAT projected how Donald Trump’s administration may act differently from Barack Obama’s administration on a wide range of health issues. On the topic of the opioid crisis, STAT predicted a similar approach.

“Providers and people in the field that I’ve talked to are really significantly concerned,” Botticelli told The Huffington Post. “[We’ve] just really started to make progress on [the opioid] issue, both in terms of care and coverage, in dealing with this as a public health-related issue.” The widespread worry is not just about repealing the ACA but also potential repeal of pro-treatment legislation that has been passed on the federal and state levels in the past few years.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help. Reach out to Mountainside by calling 888 833 4676.

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