What the New Healthcare Bill Could Mean for Addiction Services

Life is like this long game that is constantly changing, and you’re trying to figure out the new rules- but at the same time, you have absolutely no power in the deck that you’re dealt to play with. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but the idea is that we keep trying to maintain. We fight thru adversity and the daily struggles that life emits our way in this carbon based bubble of uncertainty.

Addicts and alcoholics are used to uncertainty. In most Anonymous fellowship programs, there is a prayer that is said just to keep us realizing that ambiguity is a constant being breathed in our air. We, as in those who think alcoholically, have to remind ourselves that there are some things we can change and some that we can’t- and then to know the difference between the two. Yet where do we draw the line of not being able to change something?

Recently a new bill was brought to the table that will essentially be taking a few steps back for the leagues of chemically dependent people roaming about this planet. The Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA is an idea being put to paper that will be detrimental to addicts and alcoholics of the like nationwide.

The Sentencing

The proposals being drawn up for this bill will rewind some things previously written in stone in regards to the Affordable Care Act. Once put into place, the BCRA bill will severely cut Medicaid costs across the country- thus making so many medical costs unaffordable. Basically, in a nutshell with this act passed, millions who depend on addiction healthcare services will be just plain Jane out of luck. Tons of people who have used their Medicaid to receive medications needed to keep them sane- or detoxification services to regulate, will now just have to “figure it out” pretty much.

Fortunately, this battle is not being fought alone. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is trying to stand up and oppose the senate for the bill presented in the last few days. According to the United State’s top addiction experts like ASAM’s president Dr. Kelly Clark, right now would be the worst time to unveil a bill of such manner.  According to her, “ASAM is deeply concerned about what will happen to the 2.8 million Americans with a substance use disorder who gained coverage for the first time under the Medicaid expansion. We’ve seen the death toll from the opioid epidemic rise year after year; cutting access to treatment now will be a death sentence for too many more Americans.” This is not an unprecedented claim either. One would think she knows what she’s talking about.

now what

Prisoners of Addiction

Right now in July 2017, the United States is in the midst of a gigantic opioid epidemic that is clearing the country out. Young and old, people far and wide are innocently losing their lives to chemical dependency and the grips that addiction takes on its victim. With states like Ohio having to rent out cold storage units to attach to their morgues because of the overflow of lifeless bodies, it’s absurd to think that our government would even have the audacity to play such a card. No joke. There are literally so many fatal overdoses occurring because of this opiate induced plague that there isn’t any more room for the bodies to be processed. These are human beings just like you or me!

We would easily be taking a few steps backwards. Dr. Paul Earley, ASAM’s president elect, assures us, “The Senate Bill would move us back to a time when even those with insurance can’t access medically necessary addiction treatment services.” There is a mention of a couple billion dollars being funded in the bill to address the ongoing opiate epidemic in 2018, should the bill be passed, but this isn’t nearly enough of a severance package in the eyes of most. Dr. Earley goes on to state, “And it’s inclusion of $2 billion in 2018 to address the opioid epidemic is no substitute for sustainable and predictable Medicaid coverage – coverage that allows for the treatment of the whole person, not just one diagnosis.”

Not Promising

The outlook of treatment and detoxification for addiction services in the future is beginning to look a little grim. It almost seems as if it’s a population control technique or something sinister like out of a movie. It really makes you wonder if this is real life. All jokes aside though, things are not looking too promising in regards to getting help down the road. The Trump administration doesn’t seem to be making addiction services a priority anytime soon. The most ironic part about the situation is that with this new bill and the alleged cutbacks, this is the most prevalent time in the last couple decades that Medicaid is the most for aiding addicts and alcoholics.

Granted not everybody is in the same pair of shoes, so this will affect everybody in a different manner. If passed, those relying on Medicaid thru the Affordable Care Act will then struggle to

  • Get certain prescription Medications
  • Obtain necessary psychiatric visits
  • Have a safe institution for chemical detox
  • Find affordable addiction maintenance

The list goes on. Finding any basic addiction services for somebody trying to escape the misery that encompasses the disease of alcoholism will be like trying to locate a needle in a haystack. At what point do people stand up and fight for the rights of basic healthcare coverage that are owed to them. With how many lives are disappearing, it’s time for somebody to care and for something to change.

Get the Help That IS Available

There is one fact that always remains regardless of the change that comes to our door: we can’t outrun addiction. If the disease of alcoholism comes knocking in any form, the results that ensue can flip the right person’s life upside down in the blink of an eye. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-888-481-1993 or visit www.coastaldetox.com.  We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

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