The ACA, which you know as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, promised big changes with the idea of helping the millions of people with a drug and alcohol problem. The ACA requires that treatment is offered to those that are newly insured through the insurance exchanges or Medicaid.
Yet, there are still some serious roadblocks when it comes to getting everyone the required care they need. The biggest impediment being the federal Medicaid law that limits available beds nationwide.
More than 23 million Americans needed treatment for alcohol or drug addiction in 2012 but only 11% received it. Under the outdated, decades old federal restriction, drug treatment centers with more than 16 beds can’t bill Medicaid for residential services provided to low-income adults. This law was designed to prevent Medicaid funding from going to private mental health institutions and to avoid warehousing mental patients.
Drug rehab centers have begun turning away new Medicaid beneficiaries who are entitled to treatment under Obamacare.
The Dumbest Restrictions
Health officials and treatment centers have raised concerns about the restrictions.
Enter Toby Douglas, California Health Care Services Department director: He says that only 10% of available inpatient beds in the state are in facilities that meet the federal government’s size restrictions. He asked the federal government to give the state some flexibility in counting beds.
This is basically the same thing going on within drug treatments in Colorado. And there are no plans to change the law.
But there may still be hope. Along with the protection provided under the Affordable Care Act, there were also rules for two other federal laws released last year. The first being the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. These two acts require that coverage for substance abuse treatment not be more restrictive than coverage any other kind of medical issue.
Even with that, the changes have been slow to take effect.
While no addict is jumping for joy to go into treatment, they do like being able to pay for it. As of right now the Obamacare isn’t doing much to help those who need the help.