Thanks to health care reform, millions of people with substance abuse issues will now have access to treatment. However, the influx of people may overwhelm addiction services throughout the country. According to a story by the Associated Press, 3 million to 5 million people will soon becoming eligible for insurance coverage when the health care law is implemented, and the number of people seeking treatment may double over current levels depending on the state.
Since addiction treatment began developing before people fully understood that addiction was an illness, it is still often marginalized from mainstream medical treatment. “There is no illness currently being treated that will be more affected by the Affordable Care Act than addiction,” Tom McLellan, CEO of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute, told Associated Press. “That’s because we have a system of treatment that was built for a time when they didn’t understand that addiction was an illness.”
Each state will be affected in different ways, depending on the addiction treatment services they already have in place, on rates of addiction, and on each state’s decision to expand Medicaid programs or not. For instance, Maryland is in a strong position to handle an influx of people seeking treatment, but in Vermont, “newly insured people seeking substance abuse treatment could overwhelm existing programs.” Treatment providers in California say they’re not even able to serve everyone seeking treatment now, thanks to recent funding cuts, let alone expand capacity to take on new patients.
Phoenix House has more than 120 programs and provides treatment in 11 states. If you or a loved one needs help for a substance abuse issue, we’re here for you. See if there is a Phoenix House location near you, and email or call us today: 1 888 671 9392.