What The State of Pennsylvania Is Doing To Combat Drug Addiction

September marks the Pennsylvania national recovery month held by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support those struggling or in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We live in a society where millions of people are dependent on drugs and because of the negative perceptions and stigmatization from the general public commonly associated with substance abuse (which is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion) has caused only a very small percentage of addicts to seek and receive the specialized treatment they need.

According to a published study of Pennsylvania Medicaid records, 60 percent of patients who overdose on prescription opioids do not get the relevant opioid addiction medication and treatment they need, instead what they get is more prescriptions for opiates. Substance abuse is widespread, and you might think that perhaps most addicts who are delivered to death’s door due to a drug overdose may scare them into giving up drugs all together, but this is not the case owing to the fact that opioids are dispensed to up to 91% of patients who have a 3-times higher risk of opioid overdose.

Generally, people who have Medicaid in Pennsylvania have access to immediate help, and are now eligible for treatment services, including psychotherapy, counseling, and a drug abuse treatment programs that provide valuable help and extends into the criminal justice system, particularly the millions who are struggling with substance abuse of any kind, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The main aim of The Pennsylvania National Recovery Month is to see individuals’ successfully complete treatment and live in recovery. This year’s theme is ‘Join the Voices for Recovery,’ which in essence recognizes the active role that family members and the community play in an addicts recovery journey. There will be various recovery events and programs that will be held throughout the month of September with the sole purpose of:

  • To speak out against the devastating impact of substance use disorder
  • Raising awareness of substance abuse, prevention, treatment, and recovery support services
  • To educate and advocate against stigmatization and discrimination against those struggling with drug addiction
  • And to celebrate thousands of those in long-term sobriety

Without the proper support, recovery can often seem impossible. The state of Pennsylvania is determined to prove that recovery from substance abuse is not only possible with a continuum of care and in the right kind of setting, but it is expected. PA also hopes to address the surrounding stigma and the lack of training by various providers despite the prevalence of substance use disorders – both aspects that make it challenging for addicts to seek help for their related addictions.

There are also numerous grief support groups in Pennsylvania for families who have experienced the devastating effect of drug dependency first hand and have lost a loved one through various substance use and overdoses. Hopefully, this can dramatically decrease the number of drug users in PA.

New Proposed Drug Laws in Palm Beach to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

While Palm Beach County is known as a sanctuary for recovering addicts, paramedics do not get a wink of sleep, and they can race to over 20 overdose calls in a day or rescue several people in a single residence who have shared a bad batch. Last year alone, they responded to thousands of overdose calls, many of which ended in fatalities. It has been reported that there are numerous facilities that are in the guise of sober homes or treatment centers for young adults suffering from substance abuse but in reality, they are flop houses for drug users sprawled everywhere Palm Beach.

Relapses and overdoses have skyrocketed, particularly after potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, Carfentanil and the ultra-potent heroin laced with synthetics hit the street causing 592 overdoses in 2016. With such carnage on the rise, it has forced state officials to hold their very first opioid workshop in Palm Beach where families and friends who were either drug users themselves in the past or have lost loved ones to the ravages of drug addiction and overdoses were able to share their stories.

Public health officials are now urging the president to declare the nation’s opioid crisis a national health emergency in order to appeal to the administration to take immediate action as well as encourage funding for the obliteration of illicit drugs. This has seen six governors from the states of Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts declare emergencies to not only deal with the opioids epidemic but to also crack down on over-prescription of painkillers as well as threaten doctors with imprisonment and the loss of their medical licenses if they prescribed the drugs corruptly.

There was also a call to evaluate a patients’ history of drug use or addiction before doctors can recommend any types of opioid because 40 – 75% of heroin users in treatment started with prescription medication as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and JAMA Psychiatry found. Doctors, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and advanced practice nurses are authorized to prescribe pain medication to patients with acute and chronic pain, but not all users will take them as prescribed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that he would not only fight unlicensed pain management clinics, but he will also propose a regulation of placing a three-day limit on prescribed opioids unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply. In addition to that, all healthcare professionals who dispense medication will be required to take part in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that monitors controlled substance prescriptions and in the education on responsible opioids prescription.

The governor also made a commitment to propose an investment of more than $50 million that will go toward funding The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council for the treatment of substance abuse as well as counseling and recovery services in the hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous drugs and eradicating the national opioid epidemic.

Trumps New Bill on Healthcare

Trumps New Bill on Healthcare

 

Opioid overdoses killed 91 Americans a day in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The issue has become one of the sticking points in senators’ efforts to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act, as their Obamacare standby bill is called in operation.

After weeks of secret negotiations and meetings, the US Senate has released its draft of a bill that could upset the healthcare arrangement for millions of citizens.

The Senate’s 142-page tender, revealed on Thursday, would eradicate or reduce key aids delivered by Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act; lower tariffs for the rich; strip money from the women’s reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood; and dramatically cut and reorganize Medicaid, America’s public health cover program for low-income and disabled Americans.

The regulation mirrors the bill that the House of Representatives passed narrowly last month, with modest changes planned to win funding from moderate senators. In the meantime, Republican Senate leaders highlighted that the legislation is subject to change as they discuss details in a struggle to win 50 votes, the least required for the bill to pass.

Donald Trump said he thought the ending legislation would be “very good” after “a little talk”. He stated that, Obamacare is now no longer in action, and we are coming up with a plan out today that is going to be discussed. We’d love to get some Democrats’ support in this regard, but unfortunately they’re the delayers.”

America is in the mid of its nastiest drug crisis ever. It’s a subject that has brought together both the left and right, with figures from Barack Obama to Donald Trump calling for more to be done to battle the opioid epidemic in the country.

Yet House Republicans just permitted a health care bill that would, conferring to experts, make the epidemic even bad by repealing Obamacare defenses for access to drug addiction treatment. The bill now needs the Senate’s support and Trump’s signature to become regulation.

The Affordable Care Act (also called as Obamacare) involved 10 essential health benefits that insurers in the single marketplace, Medicaid, Medicare, and some other health plans were required to cover. Among those 10 vital health benefits were psychological health services and habit treatment.

The American Health Care Act, the Republican health care bill, would permit states to get waivers to this obligation — letting insurers limit the choice of what they cover, perhaps to not take in mental health facilities and addiction treatment. This portion of the bill was added after AHCA failed to meet enough funding for a vote earlier this year, and it’s one of the causes enough conservative Republicans got on board for the bill this time around for it to pass the House on Thursday.

Essential health benefits are enormous for people with drug use disorders. Before, it was fairly common for insurers to leave out addiction treatment in their plans. If somebody with a drug misuse disorder wanted to get handling, she would naturally need to find a more costly plan that did take in addiction treatment and perhaps she wouldn’t be able to discover a plan, particularly an inexpensive one, at all.

 

 

Rising Drug Rates in the U.S.

RISING DRUG RATE IN THE U.S

Drug abuse is affecting U.S population on huge scale and it is increasing with every passing day. Approximately 21 million Americans aged 12 and elder had a substance misuse issue in 2015, according to a new federal estimation. From 2015 it has been rising immensely, the drug addict rate. Women of age 30 and plus are more into the marijuana. According to the reports, women who are divorced immediately get into drugs.

Among those with a substance misuse illness, three out of four persons (or about 15.7 million) had a substance use disorder connected to liquor, Kana Enomoto, the principal deputy manager of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Management, alleged at a news discussion.

In addition, 1 in 3 people with a drug use disorder had a disorder related to drug use, and 1 in 8 people had an illness concerning both drugs and liquor, Enomoto stated.

For the report, the central government used the meanings of substance use disorders as they are simplified in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic. People are meant to have a substance use complaint if, for example, they have sturdy urges to consume any substance or loses control on their use of it, or if their practice damages them in social circumstances or leads to hazardous actions.

The report similarly stated that an assessed 27.1 million people in the U.S. used a prohibited drug in the earlier month. The national approximations are grounded on the discoveries of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a yearly investigation on drug use. The 2015 study involved interviews with about 67,500 people nationwide.

The survey also exposed that, in 2015, about 1 in 12 Americans desired some form of substance use handling, Enomoto said. But only about 11 percent of these people truly got the treatment, she stated in an interview.

Drug use in the U.S.

Drug Use in the U.S. is a major problem. Marijuana remains the most frequently used drug, Enomoto said. Among people who reported consuming used any drugs in the preceding month, 87 percent stated that they had consumed marijuana, she said. Marijuana has been most used drug in jails also since 2007. Prisoners have been smuggling it inside and outside the jail premises.

And many people are reported using marijuana through the year 2015 than during any lone year among 2002 and 2013, conferring to SAMHSA. But particularly, marijuana use didn’t up surge between teenagers, Enomoto said. Rather, the complete surge was driven mainly by more use of the drug among adults ages 26 and older, according to the report. In 2002, 4 percent of grown-ups ages 26 and older who were measured reported consuming marijuana, but in 2015, that number was 6.5 percent.

Among those who informed using opioids in the past year, prescription substances were the most mutual type used, Enomoto said. An assessed 3.8 million people in the U.S. presently exploit prescription pain relievers, based to the report.

A projected 830,000 people in the U.S. consumed heroin in 2015. More than dual the number from 2002. This rate is devastating. Enomoto distinguished that there was a minor reduction, however, in heroin use from 2014 to 2015, but it was not statistically significant.

It is no lie, Drug use in the U.S. is getting out of control. Furthermore, approximately 300,000 people expressively used the drug fentanyl in the previous year, Enomoto stated. Fentanyl is a remedy painkiller that is up to 100 times more forceful than morphine and is often connected to deadly overdoses. In many situations, people who practice heroin may innocently use fentanyl, because heroin may be laced with fentanyl.

OPIOID CRISIS HITTING USA HARD

OPIOID CRISIS HITTING USA HARD

Recently, an opioid crisis has hit the USA, which have resulted in a state of emergency. “The opioid catastrophe is an emergency, and I’m saying publicly right now it is an emergency. It’s a nationwide emergency. We’re going to devote a lot of period, a lot of determination and a lot of money on the opioid catastrophe,” President Donald Trump stated.

It’s expected that President Trump was prejudiced by a temporary report that was offered to him by the Commission on Combating Drug Addition and the Opioid Crisis, which related the nation’s overdose death count to the count that caused from the extremist attacks on 9-11: “With roughly 142 Americans dying every single passing day, America is enduring a death toll equivalent to September 11th each three weeks,” the commission’s interim report stated. And the commission advised the president to announce a nationwide emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.

The news arrives just days next Trump management officials, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, recommended that Trump should not announce a national emergency. “We trust at this point that the funds we want or the attention that we need to bring to bear to the opioid disaster, at this point, can be talked without the announcement of an emergency,” Price said, although he made clear that the choice remains “on the table.”

“With roughly 142 people dying every day, America is moving to a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the commission’s report claims. “Afterward September 11th, our President and our nation banded collectively to practice every tool at our disposal to avoid any more American deaths. Your announcement would authorize your cabinet to take courageous steps and would force Congress to put effort on backing and permitting the Executive Branch even further to deal with this cost of life.”

The instant influence of such a declaration, some experts said, is it would send a message.

“When an emergency is stated in any country of the world, whether it’s by the president or by a national governor, the primary thing that it does is give the public announcement,” Rutkow said. “In many ways, it’s a communication tool to show that how severe a specific danger is. It takes public support in every way. It gives awareness to people and so we can prevent further losses of precious lives.

Medical Marijuana

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

The word medical marijuana refers to consuming the whole, unrefined marijuana plant or its simple extracts to cure signs of disorder and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Medication Administration (FDA) has not acknowledged the marijuana plant as medication. Often, people become mixed up among the terms cannabis and marijuana. Cannabis is a type for a plant species that contains both hemp and marijuana. For a number of people, the finest way to think about cannabis is with a similarity: hemp and marijuana are to cannabis as lemons and oranges are to citrus. Two connected but dissimilar plants, from the identical family.

How long it has been used?

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes since at least the time of early China. With regards to the United States’ pharmacological system, medical cannabis was long incorporated as a feasible cure option. It wasn’t until 1937 when, in defiance of the American Medical Association, the U.S. approved a federal law prohibiting cannabis. According to the Americans for Safe Access, from that point on cannabis was only lawfully accessible to a small number of patients through a federally controlled program called the Investigational New Drug (IND) empathetic access investigation program. In effect, the IND program permitted patients to take up to nine pounds of cannabis from the government each year, in 1976.

Where it is legal?

Medical marijuana regulations are normally created in one of two ways: either by a voter backed advantage like in California or through a state’s judicial body as in the situation of Pennsylvania. While voter initiatives must be permitted to be included to ballots only on voting years, state lawmakers can announce a medical marijuana bill whenever the state administrations are in assembly.

So far, 29 states have recognized medical marijuana programs. These states contain: AlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareHawaiiIllinoisMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMontanaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth DakotaOhioOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandVermontWashington and West Virginia.

 

Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana in America

 

While the benefits of medical marijuana have been calculated since the 1940s, the most revolutionary findings about cannabis and its healing effects have only appeared in the last decade or so as awareness in the supportive properties of medical cannabis has developed.

Modern studies propose that cannabis, or certain mixtures within it, have the potential to:

 

Healthcare for Addicts

GOP rejects Obamacare… Who will it affect?

While it may be of no surprise to many that Trump is not doing what he promised, such as not interfering with Medicaid. He promised all the voters that he will provide insurance to everyone in need but the recent decision to repeal Obamacare has caused a fury among many.

 

There are 15-20 million people who are on Medicaid and they will suffer the consequences of this decision. It will cause a negative impact and the road to recovery for many patients will be obstructed. The United Sates already has a very shaky medical insurance system compared to other developed countries in Europe so it is going to cause a huge dent in the policies of the Trump administration. Here are the people that are going to be affected because of this:

 

Drug addiction treatment

If Obamacare is repealed , Treatment will be out of reach for most addicts. Families who covered for substance abuse will have to change coverage. Addiction treatment centers charge thousands of dollars for rehab. If the congress takes out the mandatory substance abuse coverage for all people , state run facilities will be the only option. These places are already overcrowded and have no beds for drug addicts.

People who are in rehab centers or the ones who go to clinics to be treated for drug abuse are going to have problems getting their treatments. It is not easy to leave the path of drug abuse behind and get help and on top of that a new law that would stop providing medical aid to people who are suffering from substance abuse will make it harder. This could likely cause them to go back to doing drugs or they may end suffering even more severe consequences in the form of relapse.

 

Senior citizens

Medicaid is something the senior citizens rely on to ensure their medical bills are covered. Families struggle to support old members because they already have so much to worry about paying, insurance, college tuition and various other expenses. Paying for a senior citizen’s medical bills puts a heavy burden on families. Nursing home and hospital bills would only deter someone to seek medical assistance and it will ruin their health.

 

There are also many seniors who have no families looking after them and Medicaid is the only hope they have. Almost 2/3 of the nursing home population relies on Medicaid so you can imagine how many lives are going to be affected by this.

 

Children

Over 30 million children rely on Medicaid for various reasons. Some have life threatening diseases, while others have injuries that need to be taken care of by the hospital. Not all families can afford quality healthcare and if Obamacare is repealed, millions of children’s lives will be drastically affected. Their chances of getting ahead in life will be greatly diminished and only the children of the rich will prosper. Families would have to struggle to make their ends meet just because of the expensive healthcare bills.

 

People with disabilities

Medicaid provides people with disabilities a way to enhance their way of living. Over 10 million people with disabilities rely on it to cover for their expenses. People with disabilities have a lesser chance of doing a job properly and so whatever they will earn is going to go straight to their medical bills.

 

Women

Women require Medicaid to help them in acquiring reproductive health services. Affording a quality maternal healthcare will only be a luxury of the few. There are post-pregnancy medical treatments and for many women that won’t be covered if Obamacare is repealed.

 

Medicaid is an essential program that enhances the lives of every demographic and community. Repealing it would only cause more problems in the future. Unless the Trump administration comes up with something better to assist the people with, there seems to be a gloomy future for people with medical needs.

Opioid Epidemic Looms in the US: GOP’s Proposed Cuts to Medicaid Threaten Treatment for Opioid Addiction

The fight to combat the opioid crisis is a key issue that commands virtually unanimous support on Capitol Hill. Why? Communities in various states are struggling to control the opioid epidemic that has created havoc in the US and affected every one irrespective of their age, race, and socioeconomic status. In this context, Medicaid, which helps low-income and disabled people, is the single largest payer for addiction treatment.

The Affordable Care Act – Hope for the poor

Those who are addicted to opiates need suitable treatment which is typically a combination of medication and therapy. Unfortunately, this treatment is beyond the reach of most poor people. The government has developed several programs to subsidize these treatments. The most beneficial among them has been the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Botticelli, former Director, National Drug Control Policy, reports that the Affordable Care Act ensured substance use disorder treatment was one of the 10 important benefits which needed to be covered by the Medicaid and other health insurance market plans.

Republicans skeptical about Obamacare

Republicans from the Senate and the House are mulling significant reductions in Medicaid. But such measures could interfere with the addiction treatment currently being received by numerous people through the government-supported health insurance scheme.

While speaking with the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations, Dr. Terry Horton confessed that his primary fear is that these measures would prevent him from providing quality treatment to the addicts.

Republican initiatives to amend or repeal Obamacare while cutting down on Medicaid funding and passing the American Health Care Act would obstruct the current measures to control the opioid crisis.

It is important to remember that Donald Trump was one the most prominent supporters for combating the opioid epidemic. Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had often criticized the Obama government for dealing with the epidemic in an ineffective way. He was also reported saying that it is unfortunate that a large section of the American population is grappling with fatal addiction. It would be cruel to aggravate their pain with impractical government policies which pose even more challenges before them while they’re trying to get support.

According to Dr. Frank, the inability to pay for treatment combined with a lack of preparedness among people is the key reason for such a sad scenario.

The American Health Care Act, initially appreciated by President Trump, currently calls for $800 billion Medicaid cuts.

Ben Allan from NPR says that the blocking of federal Medicaid would force states to manipulate the financial gap, either by offering limited care or by denying coverage to some people.

States dependent on federal funds

States like Pennsylvania expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and the state pays around 10 percent of the bills for individuals who benefited due to the expansion; government funds account for the remaining 90 percent.

Rachel Roubein reports that in states like Ohio, Alaska, and West Virginia, Medicaid covers approximately 34 to 50 percent of medication-based treatment for addiction disorders. Only with ample funding will the states be able to treat the addicts properly and ensure they recover completely.

Imagine the no-coverage scenario in rural areas- these areas will be severely affected, as Medicare is expensive and quite difficult to access in such remote places.

Government’s attitudes towards programs such as Medicaid need major transformation if the country has to control this terrible epidemic. In the absence of proper drug treatment medications, there is a high risk of patients going back to using opioids such as heroin so that they don’t feel sick. It seems that cutting Medicaid funds would intensify the problem and spell doom for addicts.

Opioid Crisis In America

New York Senator Schumer Demands Opioid Commission to Get its Act Together

 

Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, recently called on the President’s ‘Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ for creating a program that will help save struggling addicts in the country.

 

The senator was reported saying that he had never witnessed a worse scenario with such a significant percentage of the American population affected by drugs heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and so on). He also highlighted the number of unfortunate deaths caused by overdoses as a result of the opioid epidemic.

 

Missed deadlines: Schumer

 

According to Schumer, the opioid commission under the newly elected US President has been delaying the development of a proper scheme that will help combat the rather serious drug problem in the nation.

He added that two deadlines for presenting a drug-addiction fighting plan had already been missed by the Trump administration. Schumer believes that the opioid epidemic is nothing short of a “national emergency”.

 

Instead of working on a strategy for battling the drug epidemic in the country, The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is conducting additional literature reviews and hearings, reported Schumer. He said that this delay in finding a solution was a matter of resistance, not partisanship.

 

The powerful comments by Schumer are a follow up to the letter that was signed by him and nineteen other Senate officials. This letter was sent to Richard Baum, temporary director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and pushed him to look into critical initiatives that may help provide quicker relief to the several million Americans battling severe drug addiction. The content of the letter critiqued the laid back attitude of the commission with regards to executing recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic. These recommendations were given by retired Surgeon General Vivek Murthy back in 2016.

 

The co-signers of the letter expressed their concern about the fact that while the Commission was making an effort to address the problem of drug addiction, there was a major delay in implementing the already available recommendations. The Senate Democrats also took the liberty to criticize Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The criticism was due to the fact that he had termed medication-based treatment for addressing opioid dependency (for example, with methadone or suboxone as “substitution of one drug with another”. Nearly 700 science and medical experts stepped in to correct this statement by Price. They said that medication had been utilized as a standard treatment for managing drug addiction for several years. Also, there was enough scientific proof to show that medicine-based treatment is, in fact, effective in addressing addiction.

 

Trump fails to live up to his initial claims

 

An executive order was signed by Trump in the month of March 2017 that allowed for the creation of the commission. It is chaired by the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. The commission’s panel was directed to work in close association with the White House Office of American Innovation led by Jared Kushner, son-in-law to President Trump.

 

At the time when the commission was launched, Trump said that the epidemic in question is merciless and without any boundaries. He had promised that the commission would have immense compassion for the struggling addicts and work together to resolve this life-threatening problem in the country.

 

In June 2017, Schumer made an announcement to support a key initiative led by the University Of Rochester School Of Medicine and Monroe County. The initiative is aimed at creating a one-of-a-kind FP (forensic pathologists) fellowship program, away from New York City, for addressing the lack of sufficient forensic pathologists in the country needed to fight the opioid epidemic.

Robert Reich Explains

 

The Effects of the Repeal of Obamacare on Addiction Treatment Costs

The early part of 2010 witnessed the rolling out of new healthcare policies by the Obama administration. These policies were formulated to offer accessible and affordable health insurance cover to those Americans who were previously uninsured.

The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment reported that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare had helped offer insurance cover to over 5 million individuals suffering from mental health and addiction problems.

One of the greatest benefits of the Affordable Care Act for addiction patients was that it covered the costs of rehab. Also, mental health and substance abuse disorders were listed as one of the ten EHBs or Essential Health Benefits that required coverage under the ACA health insurance system. In other words, the health insurance plans which met the guidelines of Obamacare for minimal coverage had to include insurance for addiction treatment.

Widespread concern over withdrawal of coverage

With the Congress working to withdraw the ACA, those with mental health disorders and addiction problems, along with their treatment providers and families, are worried about how patients will manage to maintain sobriety and good mental health in the absence of insurance cover.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that almost 30 percent of the individuals who received coverage under the Medicaid expansion plan had some mental disorder (schizophrenia, anxiety) or substance abuse problem (alcohol, opioids).

Between 2015 and 2016, there was a 30 percent increase in the Medicaid expenditure on prescriptions for treating opioid abuse. New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio, and Massachusetts were among the states that reported the highest death rates due to opioid overdose in 2015.

Reduction in Medicaid Costs and No Tax Credits

The Better Care Reconciliation Act will cut down on the Medicaid federal funding and withdraw Medicaid expansion which offered coverage to nearly 11 million low-income citizens. In addition to this, it would also cause a fundamental restructuring of the program and transform Medicaid from an open benefit to something which allows limited spending only.

The repeal of the ACA without any replacement would be an extremely reckless decision. It is likely to have a very damaging effect on people with addiction and related disorders. Even a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act would end up eliminating tax benefits which would minimize premiums for nearly 85 percent of the people who purchase insurance coverage on the state and federal exchanges. The majority of the people receiving tax benefits pay under $100 per month towards insurance. These people have minimal out-of-pocket expenses which make coverage affordable for them.

The benefit cuts were confirmed by the House of Republicans in a meeting last week. Republicans who form a part of the committee claim that the transformation would provide additional flexibility to states with regards to coverage decisions. They believe that states would not stop providing mental health and addiction coverage to recipients of Medicaid if required.