Republicans at the House of Representatives presented this Monday the new proposal to repeal Obamacare. Among the things that are going to be eliminated by the new bill is the coverage for drug addiction treatments. Advocates for Medicaid have said that this subject is essential, as its elimination could cause great harm to American people.
If the draft law finally gets approved, it would mean that the Affordable Care Act requirement that forced Medicaid to cover drug addiction treatments will be cut out by 2020. States would have jurisdiction regarding their decision to pay for it or not.
According to latest reports published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2015 was the year in which more deaths caused by drug overdoses were registered, reaching the 50,000 mark. It also showed that opioids consumption, including fentanyl and oxycodone, is responsible for 25 percent of those deaths.
What would this cut mean?
Many states are facing an opiates crisis and a steady rise in their death rates. States like Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia are the most affected and the ones that could be more harmed by the new GOP proposal. Its approval would translate into a roll-back of the Medicaid expansion in those states. There are thirty-one states in the District of Columbia that got the expansion through the Affordable Care Act.
According to Joshua Sharfstein, Associate Dean at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, this cut could be studied as a “major retreat from the effort to save lives in the opiate epidemic.”
Sharfstein and other experts in the matter have said that mental disorders are highly associated with drug addictions, and for this reason, a general overhaul of this Medicaid expansion can only be seen as a step back on the process of saving many lives.
Recent surveys have shown how almost 1.4 million people have received treatment through Medicaid since its expansion. This estimation was proven after an investigation conducted by economists Richard G. Frank from Harvard Medical School and Sherry Glied from New York University. If the GOP proposal is approved, most of these treatments will be uncovered by Medicaid.
“We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth,” President Donald Trump said in a speech before Congress last week, “and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”
Back when Trump was the Republican candidate, one of the focuses of his campaign was the fight against the nation’s drug overdose problem.
He also has promised to combat this issue from the White House, as he believes it must be addressed instantly. Recently, President Trump endorsed the plan presented by his party representatives at the House and hopes that it gets approved as soon as possible.
Source: The Washington Post