Addiction and ObamaCare
5 Excellent Obamacare Benefits that will no longer be available to Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Patients
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed by President Barack Obama in 2010. This act was brought into effect with the aim of making quality healthcare accessible to a broader range of American citizens.
One of the healthcare areas that greatly benefitted from the ACA was ‘substance abuse and mental health’ treatment services. It is a well-known fact that treatment of addiction in the US isn’t cheap. But alcoholism and drug addiction affect nearly 15 to 20 percent of the US population. Therefore, addiction treatment needs to be affordable.
With the repeal of the Obamacare, addiction and mental health patients will no longer have access to some major benefits that were offered by the ACA. These include the following:
- Provision of insurance coverage
Addiction was seen as a moral shortcoming in the past. It meant that an individual had no self-control or was a “weak” or “bad” person if he/she took to drugs or alcohol. This was a good excuse for insurance companies to avoid giving coverage for any kind of rehabilitation or addiction treatment. But Obamacare changed that. It recognized that substance abuse is actually a ‘disease’ and like any other illness, it also needs proper treatment. Hence, all health insurance agencies were mandated to provide coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatments under the ACA.
- A new setting for treating substance abuse
The ACA also ensured that individuals suffering from substance abuse problems who have recently acquired coverage receive certain key benefits-change of treatment and access to behavioral health improvement services. In 2014, the act laid down ten compulsory “essential health benefits” or EHBs and substance abuse treatments were listed as one of the essential benefit categories.
- Expansion of private insurance and Medicaid
The individual mandate was the most significant provision of the ACA. The ACA created Affordable Insurance Marketplaces or Exchanges while subsidizing individual coverage bought through these exchanges for a certain category of individuals (earning up to 400% of FPL or Federal Poverty Level)
- Accountable and holistic care
Obamacare had a significant impact on numerous aspects of addiction treatment. The law affected several categories of people including the payers, providers, and clients. New care systems were experienced by providers and clients while payers had to come up with different ways of providing affordable, high-quality care. The focus of the ACA for addiction treatment was to offer coordinated and holistic care and develop a network of providers while making use of result-oriented payments for maximum accountability.
- Normalization of addiction treatment
There had always been a stigma around substance abuse and mental illness and few people (even in medical centers) could accept it as a disease even though there is enough scientific research to support this claim. Obamacare helped bring addiction treatment at par with other medical offerings. In other words, seeking admission to a rehabilitation center, outpatient care and counseling was seen as a way of getting better. Addiction patients were seen as people who deserved support like any other routine patients.