It’s always stressful when Washington gets involved in the lives of everyday people. Even those with the best of intentions sometimes propose legislation that has negative consequences to people in different areas of the country. For example, the DEA wanted to ban the natural drug Kratom last year, but due to public outcry from ex-opiate addicts and those suffering chronic pain and depression, the DEA decided to hold the decision until they received more public feedback. Though the DEA thought they were acting in the best interest of the people, the people themselves thought otherwise, especially after sharing their personal stories and experiences online, in writing, and in phone calls.
Another circumstance has arisen again. Though the left learning Times is known for their stance on a variety of issues, it can be assumed that the legislation proposed in this article has elements of truth and unintended consequences within it. Here is a bit of information about the legislation, what it proposes, and who it could potentially affect for those seeking addiction treatment.
1. Senate Republicans are proposing steep cuts in Medicaid in their proposal to alter and abolish Obamacare. Obamacare has been an unpopular piece of legislation amongst people in both parties since its inception. Its approval rate has never been very high. However, specific parts of the legislation are popular, when broken down into easy to understand explanations.
Medicaid cuts could affect addiction treatment in many ways. Obamacare expanded Medicaid treatment (which many states could not afford, and therefore opted out of.) However, “after it was enacted, an estimated 2.8 million people with substance abuse problems gained insurance coverage for the first time under this expansion.” (This doesn’t necessarily mean that they were seen my doctors, to be fair. Less and less doctors are able to take Medicaid patients; so more “coverage” does not equate “more treatment.”)
The bill would phase out Medicaid expansion, which would no longer force insurers to cover addiction treatments and detox facilities. Unfortunately, addiction treatment is expensive on its own, and many families go into debt just to try and help their loved ones. Though Medicaid expansion was not perfect, and it did not necessarily create more “care”, it did create more option for “care.” Cuts in this budget may affect those with addictions.
2.The bill does, however, offer funding to combat opioid addiction. According to the Times article, the legislation would offer 2 billion in funding to combat the opioid epidemic, which has become a nationwide crisis. The Police Chief of Newton, Ohio, stated, “ I think it’s nice to have it set aside specifically for that, and that they took the time to highlight the issue, which is completely bi-partisan.”
However, some, even on the GOP side say that the amount is not high enough to combat the addiction problem sweeping the country. The director of the Partnership for Drug Free kids laments, “I object to the concept of a separate opioid fund. Much more funding is needed. We’ve been trying to get addiction into the medical mainstream.” In other words, putting a separate fund to fight addiction, according to some, doesn’t help solve the problem or the stigma.
So will Medicaid cuts really affect addiction treatment, or is this just a scare tactic used by some to guilt more funding into government programs that seem to at times be futile and wasteful? We will have to keep an eye out on the legislation and see what the results are, and if this measure passes in the Senate. Until then, let’s hope Washington stays out of more of our personal affairs!
Has the opioid crisis affected you or someone in your family? Are you suffering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol? If so, contact Linda Rose at Footprints Behavioral Health. Call 949-556-4723 today and get started on your roadmap towards recovery now.