Publication date: Aug 09, 2019
At the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), we recently tracked all 57 federal funding sources directed at the epidemic and found that they fall far short of the amount necessary to reverse the rate of overdose deaths, address the consequences of the epidemic, permanently reverse the rate of overdose deaths and build a comprehensive addiction treatment and recovery system.
There are an estimated 2 million people with opioid use disorder, but the national addiction crisis is about more than just opioids.
However, developing a comprehensive evidence-based system of care for people with substance use disorder will take ongoing funding over a sustained period.
The federal government’s funding source for the country’s prevention and much of the nation’s treatment system, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) block grant, has suffered a 24 percent decrease in real funding due to a decade of level-funding.
Raising the tax on alcohol would generate enough money to fund an addiction treatment system and improve outcomes for people with all forms of addiction, including alcohol use disorder, which is linked to 88,000 deaths in the US each year.
However, considerable barriers to evidence-based treatments such as medications for opioid use disorder persist in Medicaid programs.
These obstacles include: the need to obtain prior authorizations before prescribing medications for opioid use disorder; quantity or dosing limits; lifetime treatment limits; and step therapy (sometimes referred to as “fail first” policies).
A 2018 Report to Congress published by MACPAC (Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission), found that 40 percent of counties did not have an outpatient substance use disorder treatment program.
The ACA requires that treatment for substance use disorders be covered as an essential benefit, and private insurance companies must comply with The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (The Parity Act).
A recent report from the Center on Addiction identified significant noncompliance with both The Parity Act and essential benefit requirements in state ACA plans.
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- The Cost of the Opioid Epidemic, In Context
- Rural access to MAT in Pennsylvania (RAMP): a hybrid implementation study protocol for medication assisted treatment adoption among rural primary care providers.