As our country grapples with an “unprecedented opioid epidemic,” Congress is taking steps to take away an important tool to fight it — the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The annual cost of the epidemic is estimated to be $78.5 billion. In 2014, there were more deaths from opioid and other drug overdose than any other year; 60.9 percent of those overdoses involved an opioid. Every day, an average of 78 Americans die from opioid abuse. The coverage expansions and protections under the ACA can help lessen the epidemic and save lives.
The ACA Provides Coverage To People With Substance Use Disorders
Because of the ACA, an estimated 26 million people have health coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid that includes substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and prevention. Additional people enrolled in new individual market or small group market plans outside the marketplace also now have SUD treatment covered because most individual and small employer insurance plans can no longer exclude SUD treatment. And, as Ohio Governor John Kasich recently noted, the Medicaid expansion is getting SUD treatment services to people in need.