Fortunately for many, the resources from Obamacare for addiction treatment have made recovery more accessible than ever before. As of this past April 1st, everyone either must be insured in some manner, or pay the government fees described within the new law.
This is great for addicts and alcoholics who have been struggling to find recovery. It finally puts drug and alcohol treatment within the grasp of those who may not have been able to afford a dedicated treatment program.
However, there are a few problems that still need to be addressed in the Obamacare addiction treatment services.
First and foremost, recovery is available for all who want it and are willing to work for it. It has never been about money. That said, drug and alcohol treatment facilities get paid for a very good reason. It takes a lot of time, experience, and specialized training when dealing with such a diverse set of addicts and alcoholics, and although people in meetings mean well, sometimes they are just not properly equipped to deal with all of the issues a struggling addict or alcoholic may be having.
Another issue: there are a lot of addicts and alcoholics out there. That might not be too surprising, but the fact that more than 23 million people last year needed treatment sure is. So, too, is that only around 11 percent of those people actually got that help—let alone stayed clean and sober.
However, this number should be higher. Many people do not bother seeking treatment because of a lack of insurance, or the stigma associated with alcoholism and drug addiction.
Combine both of those, add in a lack of available beds or spots in treatment programs, and the scope of the issue becomes more clear.
There is one more thing drastically affecting drug and alcohol treatment: Medicaid.
There is an old provision in Medicaid that essentially says programs with more than 16 beds cannot bill Medicaid for residential services. This was originally intended to keep private facilities from essentially holding people with mental illnesses hostage to get funding. However, this decades-old provision is getting Medicaid beneficiaries turned around when they should be getting covered by Obamacare for addiction treatment services.
In California, only 10 percent of inpatient beds meet these federal requirements, but other states are having their own issues surrounding this specific provision. It is essentially just a matter of how to get around it, and that is what frustrates so many treatment providers.
So what is going on? What is going to happen? Nothing.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency, has said there are no plans to change this. Instead, they are looking at helping states and providers get other forms of federal funding to help with addiction and alcoholism treatment.
After all is said and done, one thing remains clear: addiction and alcoholism are still contentious issues when it comes to healthcare, government, the public, and those suffering from the disease.
Using Obamacare for Addiction Treatment
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