Obamacare Is One Of The Best Tools We Have In Solving The Opioid Crisis
Without the health care law, the opioid crisis could have been worse, experts say.
After a federal judge ruled Friday that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, President Donald Trump enthusiastically praised the decision as “Great news for America!”
The ruling will inevitably be appealed and most likely overturned. Should it stand, however, that “great news” would translate to more than 17 million Americans losing health care coverage and the uninsured rate rising by 50 percent, according to anUrban Institute analysis.
With the health care law temporarily in flux, it’s worth revisiting an often-unacknowledged aspect of how the ACA helps underserved Americans: It’s a key tool in addressing our nation’s opioid epidemic.
“If we are serious about treating addiction as a public health issue, and bending the curve of the opioid epidemic, we must maintain the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion,” said Regina LaBelle, the former chief of staff at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Obama administration.
If we are serious about treating addiction as a public health issue, and bending the curve of the opioid epidemic, we must maintain the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.
In addition to requiring that addiction treatment be on par with physical health insurance coverage, two specific parts of the ACA have made addiction treatments, such as medication-assisted treatment and inpatient and outpatient therapies, more accessible.
First, the ACA guarantees health insurance coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
“A person with a history of substance use cannot be denied health coverage,” explained Leighton Ku, a professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.