How Medicaid Expands Access to Treatment for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

March 21, 2017 | Addiction Policy Forum

 paper drawings of a family and an umbrella that reads "Medicaid"

With healthcare on the docket this week, we write with concern about Medicaid and its importance to covering those with substance use disorders.

As you may know, Medicaid expansion covers 1.29 million low-income people with substance use disorders.

In the United States we have a treatment access issue:
  • While roughly 22 million individuals are in need of treatment related to drugs or alcohol, only 10% actually receive it. Can you imagine if only 10% of patients with cancer or diabetes received treatment?
  • 29% of people who receive their health insurance through Medicaid expansion either have a mental disorder or a substance use disorder or both; and Medicaid pays for between 35-50% of all medication assisted treatment nationwide.
  • In addition, States hardest hit by the opioid epidemic would be at greatest risk for coverage reductions if Medicaid expansion is repealed
We ask that you work to protect treatment for addiction and any healthcare reform efforts to ensure individuals get the treatment they need.