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Federal health care reform legislation can help removing financial barriers to treat Americans

July 06, 2019

"Congress embraced addiction treatment as an essential part of health care reform," said Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, JD, director for national policy at the Legal Action Center and a member of the CATG initiative. "But federal and state regulators are now tasked with translating and implementing that vision. This may be the single greatest opportunity in our lifetime to make a difference. The costs of untreated addiction are too great to not get this right."

At the national level, Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap is focused on four key elements that are necessary to maximize the opportunity presented by health care reform:

Developing a meaningful addiction treatment benefit that covers a full continuum of addiction services for both the patient and the patient's family, as appropriate; Improving coordination and integration of available services, including wellness and prevention services, screening, intervention, treatment and other supports; Monitoring implementation to prevent new barriers to treatment, ensure full coverage for and access to appropriate care, including the utilization of strategies and interventions with demonstrated effectiveness; and  Preserving federal and state safety nets to ensure treatment is still available to individuals not covered by health care reform, unable to afford insurance coverage even with subsidies, or with insufficient coverage.  Unfortunately, systemic and societal obstacles continue to prevent many people from seeking addiction treatment.  A number of current government policies result in discrimination ?? housing, education, health care and employment ?? against those who disclose a history of addiction. These barriers can hinder the long-term health of those seeking to address an addiction through treatment. Although there has been progress in reducing both the stigma and the discriminatory policies, many people with addiction histories are unable to fully exercise their rights and participation in society.

SOURCE Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap