As the nation debates changes to the Affordable Care Act, it’s worth noting what’s been gained with the expansion of health care coverage to more than 20 million Americans. For the first time, many who suffer from addiction and substance abuse disorders are getting treatment thanks to their coverage. In the face of the growing opioid abuse epidemic in our country, that additional coverage means many more lives can be saved. One study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and New York University estimates that 2.8 million people with substance abuse disorders would lose some or all of their coverage if the ACA is repealed and not replaced. About 220,000 of these people are addicted to opioids. Widespread abuse of opioids, including prescription painkillers, fentanyl, and heroin has sent overdose deaths in America to record levels. We must recognize that expanded coverage has brought greater resources for behavioral health and addiction treatment to those most in need – and that reducing coverage could take that help away. Coverage matters. Policymakers must keep this in mind as they debate changes to our nation’s health care policy.

Related News Articles

Perspective
On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that “a third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety or depression” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also…
Headline
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday released a fact sheet for state and local governments seeking Medicare, Medicaid or Children’s…
Headline
An annual report into death by several factors tied to mental health and wellbeing — otherwise referred to as “deaths of despair” — topped 150,000 in 2018. The…
Headline
State Medicaid programs are reporting an uptick in enrollment compared with their fiscal year 2020 projections, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The…
Headline
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering, and Medicine yesterday released recommendations for improving outcomes and metrics associated with four grant…
Headline
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of Tidelands Health based in Georgetown, S.C., talks about how hospitals and health…