Repealing Obamacare: Impact on substance abuse treatment in the U.S.

repeal-obamacare-substance-abuseAs the Trump Administration begins its legislative agenda for 2017, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) is at the top of the list. Indeed, debate is already underway in Congress on how to replace it.


Obamacare and substance abuse treatment

In 2014, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data showed that 21 million Americans needed treatment for a drug or alcohol problem. Unfortunately, only about 2 million people actually got treated.

That year, Obamacare required insurance companies to cover substance abuse treatment under its 10 essential benefits.


The Parity Act and insurance for children up to 26 years old

But Obamacare is not the only law that covers substance abuse treatment. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) predates the Affordable Care Act and explicitly states that insurance plans which include both medical/surgical and mental health benefits must have financial and treatment limitations which are equal. An insurer cannot place additional obstacles in the way of a covered individual to obtaining treatment for addiction.

Both the Trump Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have also voiced support for retaining key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the ability for parents to keep their children on their insurance plans through age 26. As many clients of substance abuse facilities fall into that age range, they will likely continue to access care through that feature of their insurance plans.


What do you think?

What do you think will happen in the coming months? Inspira would love to hear your thoughts and predictions. Contact or email us with thoughts or commentary.