The Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would strip away what advocates say is essential coverage for drug addiction treatment as the number of people dying from opiate overdoses is skyrocketing nationwide.Beginning in 2020, the plan would eliminate an Affordable Care Act requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental-health and addiction services in states that expanded it, allowing them to decide whether to include those benefits in Medicaid plans.The proposal would also roll back the Medicaid expansion under the act -- commonly known as Obamacare -- which would affect many states bearing the brunt of the opiate crisis, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
[Medicaid] covers more than 70 million people and is the largest source of funding for behavioral health treatment, like addiction recovery and substance abuse prevention. Indeed, the Affordable Care Act required Medicaid to start paying for all available addiction treatments, beginning in 2014. And in the 31 states that expanded the program under Obamacare, 1.2 million people have gained coverage for substance abuse treatment.... If Trump were serious about fighting opioid addiction, he would at least commit to strengthening the program.Instead, he's put his weight behind the American Health Care Act,... Not only would the bill phase out the Medicaid expansion, but it would eliminate a host of coverage requirements for insurers, including coverage for drug treatment. Millions of Americans would lose insurance altogether (to pay for lower taxes on high earners) while those still on Medicaid would lose access to help for addiction and substance abuse.... In one swift move, millions of Americans would lose meaningful access to health insurance, which is to say, millions who struggle with addiction will lose the help they need. And this is to say nothing of treatment facilities that rely on federal dollars to operate. Under this bill, they lose out too.