As the national debate increasingly focuses on health care reform, we need you to share your story of how the current healthcare system has helped you or someone you love gain access to treatment.

We at Facing Addiction—along with a majority of the Action Network—are very concerned about the American Health Act proposed last week in the US House of Representatives. Specifically, there are two provisions that would severely reduce coverage for people seeking access to care for addiction:

  • There will no longer be a requirement for many insurance plans to offer mental health and addiction services at parity with physical health conditions – learn more here.
  • Federal support of the Medicaid expansion population in the Affordable Care Act that has provided coverage to between 1.3 and 8 million Americans with substance use disorders would be eliminated. This places an incredible burden on states if they are going to attempt to sustain the current coverage – learn more here.

Facing Addiction is not alone: AARP, The American Medical Association, The American Nurses Association, The American Psychological Association, and The American Hospital Association have expressed serious concerns about the proposed bill.

As this debate moves forward in the coming days, we need you – perhaps more than ever! 

Given the bi-partisan nature of the addiction crisis, members of Congress, from both parties, have asked us to collect stories from people who have received access to health care and/or treatment for a substance use disorder individually, through a health insurance marketplace, or through Medicaid expansion in your state. Regardless of your politics or how you might feel about the need for national health reform, your voice is so critical.  Please, click here to share your story.

A wide variety of media reports and expert analysis from around the country have commented on the damage this bill will cause to those suffering from substance use disorders:

New England Journal of Medicine – “How ACA Repeal Would Worsen the Opioid Epidemic” – http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1700834?query=TOC&

Vox – “The House’s Obamacare repeal bill would strand drug addicts without access to care” – http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/7/14841876/ahca-obamacare-repeal-opioid-epidemic

The Hill – “Amid federal uncertainty, states confront opioid crisis” – http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/323021-amid-federal-uncertainty-states-confront-opioid-crisis

Please, share your story TODAY on how access to care has helped your family. We will pass these stories on to officials in Congress who are debating this legislation. It has never been more important for all of us to stand together as a movement and to continue facing addiction.

Comments

  • Greg. Have you ever considered that we might all be better off if we focused our public policy efforts on getting the government out of the business of subsidizing treatment and/or mandating coverage? Haven’t we seen enough evidence over the past several decades to convince us that the government will not and can not be a part of meaningful and sustainable progress against our nation’s most pressing health challenge? Why do we think this time will be any different? While I am hopeful that you will find people who will respond to your request in a favorable way, you and I both know that success stories are the exception. We have our government to thank for perpetuating a treatment system that doesn’t work. From our perspective, the biggest impact of the ACA and parity was the flood of Wall Street and private equity money flowing into the treatment industry capitalizing on what I’m sure they saw as nothing more than a revenue stream not saddled with typical business constraints like performance and accountability. The private sector has all the power. When we deliver something of value to them, they invest in sustainable solutions. It’s that simple.

    • Greg Williams

      @disqus_em6JW6AHbv:disqus you are absolutely right the private sector is and will be a vital component of solving and improving the continuum of care for recovery services to be sure. Unfortunately, as with most things health-related it is a both/and issue. The notion that the government will ever not be involved in the delivery of care for substance use disorders is not feasible or sustainable either – just as this isn’t the scenario for heart or diabetes. It will continue to be a mixed bag given the large and diverse population of impact. The scenario you describe above about the growth of private investing resulting from the expansion of Parity protections found within the ACA actually speaks to the largest private sector response towards investing in SUDs in decades, that resulted in providing increased access to care for millions. If you recall prior to these protections for individuals (not in the large employer health market) – the health insurance market largely determined substance use disorder was a “pre-exisiting condition” and individuals had no coverage to health services for SUDs. The proposed AHCA bill by nearly every metric and non-partisan analysis would have resulted in a loss of coverage and access to care for people with SUDs. I absolutely agree large employers do hold the cards for a great many people in this country, and we MUST spend a great deal of attention and focus on convincing them / demonstrating value to them about how their investments in SUDs could pay their companies back in considerable ways. But that doesn’t mean we can forget about small business owners, unemployed individuals (especially those with criminal records who cannot get employment), people without economic means or disabilities, and the elderly who will always have government involved in some way in their care. It’s both / and my friend … it’s that “complicated” … unfortunately.

      • Touche, my friend. One day our Missions will merge. Until then, nothing but the best to you and your cause.