Last week, we wrote about the overwhelming statistics: that only 1 cent of every healthcare dollar in the United States goes toward addiction, and only 10 percent of the 23 million Americans with alcohol or drug problems receive treatment.
Hard to believe, right?! And here are two more:
- Almost four million individual insurance policy holders don’t have access to insurance for substance addiction or mental health treatment (The Department of Health and Human Services).
- Nearly 1.2 million people who hold small group health insurance plans don’t have access to substance abuse and mental health care (The Department of Health and Human Services).
But many Americans see hope in the Affordable Care Act, under which more than 60 million Americans will gain access to previously unavailable substance abuse and mental health treatment by 2014. Under this law, signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010, substance abuse and mental health treatment are considered essential health benefits that must be equally covered along with other essential medical care.
- In 2014, Medicaid will also offer coverage for substance abuse, which will help the remaining 27 million Americans with no insurance.
- The law’s “parity” protection will cover an additional 30.4 million people, expanding options for those whose policies already offer some limited help for substance abuse and mental health disorders.
- The law’s ten “Essential Health Benefit” categories will include substance abuse and mental health therapies.
Many addiction professionals across the country consider the Affordable Care Act to be the most significant advancement in substance abuse treatment in decades, and the White House say it’s he largest of its kind in a generation.
Do you think the Affordable Care Act is good drug policy?