Monday, July 2, 2012
Supreme Court Decision: A Clear Win For Addiction Treatment?
A roundup of expert opinion.
Dr. Tom McLellan, chief executive officer of the Treatment Research Institute, who served on President Obama’s healthcare reform task force, called the recent U. S. Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act “the beginning of a new era in prevention, early intervention, and office based care for patients who are not addicted—but whose drinking, smoking, and use of other substances is harming their health and compromising the effectiveness of the care they are receiving for other illnesses and conditions.”
Mark Mishek, president and CEO of Hazelden, called the ruling “an essential step forward for millions of people who need help overcoming addiction… Expanding access to addiction treatment was a moral and financial imperative. It will save dollars, and, even more important, it will save lives.”
Phoenix House Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Deni Carise said the individual mandate “ensures that millions of Americans who struggle with addiction, but previously were unable to access or afford treatment, will now be able to receive the life-saving services they desperately need.” However, she worries about possible limitations in coverage: “It could be difficult to gain insurance coverage for non-hospital residential treatment, which is relatively unique to drug treatment.”
Now that the legality of ACA has been decided, we should work to implement it in a way that provides the treatment for addiction it was intended to provide,” said Mark Dunn, public policy consultant for the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).
“This is a triumph for recovering Americans, many of whom were directly involved in advocating for the new law,” said Stanford psychiatry professor Keith Humphreys, another former White House adviser on drug policy. “Both the quantity and the quality of care for addiction are set for unprecedented—and long overdue—growth.”
Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America: “Of the estimated 32 million people who will gain coverage, about 4 to 6 million will have untreated mental illnesses or addictions. By including mental health and substance use services on the list of essential benefits… the law recognizes how integral behavioral health is to overall health. And it extends the groundbreaking Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and its prohibition of discriminatory limits on mental health and substance use services to those plans.”
Rahiel Tesfamariam, Washington Post: “We could start with what the new law will do for children struggling with mental illness and substance abuse, two challenges that often go hand-in-hand…. As a community organizer doing juvenile justice work in the Anacostia community of Washington, D.C. in recent years, I’d often come across children with behavioral issues rooted in untreated mental illness and substance abuse. It was heartbreaking to review case after case and find that proper medication and counseling could have prevented a lot of the young people we served from ever entering the criminal system. The systemic failure to meet their medical needs was a major contributing factor in the revolving door of delinquency and arrest that so many of them were trapped in.”
Aziz Huq is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School: “There is, then, the possibility that some state states… will refuse the marginal increases in Medicaid funding that underwrite its expansion on ideological grounds…If states take this path, those not covered by the Medicaid expansion will continue to obtain healthcare in inefficient and expansive ways — undermining the cost-containment goals of the law and perhaps even threatening the stability of reduced premiums for others.”
Jeremy B. White, International Business Times: “But Republican governors are already renouncing the measure as a budget-buster. In a press release, [Florida Governor] Scott rejected spending ‘approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program.’ Scott also joined his Republican counterparts in refusing to implement the private health insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of the law. Americans who earn under a certain amount but are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid would get government subsidies to help them purchase insurance on the insurance exchanges, where different insurance companies would compete to appeal to customers.”
Photo Credit: http://www.urbanfaith.com