In my last few posts I’ve talked about the Senate Healthcare Bill, also known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. My last post centered on its effect on Medicaid.
Today I wish to focus on another aspect: the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) listed 10 things that all health insurance were required to provide:
Ambulatory patient services. [outpatient care]
Hospitalization. [inpatient care]
Maternity and newborn care
Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.
These were chosen because several of them are exactly the benefits that are denied when times get tough. You can find an excellent article from National Public Radio that compares Obamacare, the House bill, and the Senate bill.
For the purposes of this post I’m going to drill down on just one: mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment. With Obamacare your health insurance required them to pay for mental health services, but both the House and Senate bills allow states to apply for waivers that would not require them to pay for this.
We’ve been hearing more and more about this, but opioid addiction has skyrocketed in the last few years. In fact, in March Mr. Trump appointed former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead a new commission to battle opiod abuse.
Thing is, many addicts who seek treatment are able to pay for it through Medicaid. The percentage varies from from state to state. States that are hardest hit by addiction rely heavily on Medicaid to pay for this treatment. In Ohio it’s 49%, West Virginia it’s 45%, Kentucky it’s 44%.
The GOP plan will decimate Medicaid and make it harder for those who seek sobriety. We’ve been reading in the last few days that the Senate is looking at adding $45 billion for drug treatment but this isn’t nearly enough.
I’ll be writing more about how we all benefit from Medicaid, but healing addiction helps everyone.