The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would eliminate a requirement that Medicaid cover basic addiction and mental health services in states that expanded the government healthcare program, The Washington Post reports.
Almost 1.3 million people receive treatment for addiction and mental health disorders under Medicaid expansion.
Under the proposed plan, states that expanded Medicaid would be allowed to decide whether to include addiction and mental health services starting in 2020. Many states that could eliminate these services include ones hardest hit by the opioid crisis, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, the article notes.
“Taken as a whole, it is a major retreat from the effort to save lives in the opiate epidemic,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Associate Dean at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would roll back any progress made against combating the nation’s opioid crisis, according to Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Obama.
While he headed ONDCP, Botticelli argued that the opioid epidemic should be dealt with through treatment, not arrests, The Huffington Post reports.
“I think there is a tremendous amount of fear that we are going to retreat from all of the science and evidence that we know to be true about addiction,” Botticelli told The Huffington Post shortly before his last day at ONDCP.
“Our response to this opioid epidemic has largely been focusing on ‘How do we narrow that treatment gap?’” he said. “And certainly one of the biggest contributors to narrowing that treatment gap is making sure that people get insurance coverage and have adequate insurance coverage for substance use disorders... We...
People with addiction and mental health disorders and their treatment providers are worried that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could reduce insurance coverage for these disorders, USA Today reports.
Almost 30 percent of people who received coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion have a mental disorder or a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Partially repealing ACA would do away with Medicaid expansion, and would most likely replace it with block grants that would require states to make cuts in what is covered, how much is spent and how many people can receive coverage.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat, said President-Elect Trump “pledged to take on this crisis, not immediately make matters much worse. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement is highly reckless and will come at a high cost for people struggling with substance use disorders.”