Publication date: Jan 12, 2020
After examining the association of Medicaid expansion with county-by-year counts of opioid overdose deaths and by class of opioid, the researchers found that: Our findings suggest that as states invest more resources in addressing the opioid overdose epidemic, policymakers should pay attention to the role that expanding Medicaid can play in reducing opioid overdose deaths by providing greater access to health care, and in particular, to treatment for opioid use disorder.
Magdalena CerdcE1, DrPH, associate professor and director of the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health, and the study’s senior author One concerning finding from the study was the association of Medicaid expansion with an 11 percent increase in overdose deaths involving methadone.
Past research has found Medicaid expansion is associated with not only large decreases in the number of uninsured Americans, but also considerable increases in access to opioid use disorder treatment and the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone.
Finally, although the researchers looked at the relationship of Medicaid expansion and overdose mortality, they did not directly examine pathways such as how Medicaid expansion affects access to treatment for opioid use disorder, how it affects opioid misuse and nonfatal overdoses, or how it affects access to naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdose.
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