Bill White’s message to congress

Bill White shares an open letter to congress:

Two of the most important responses to the opioid epidemic have been the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid in 31 states and the District of Columbia and the ACA requirement that states include mental health and addiction treatment as reimbursable services. Those critical responses will be turned back if the GOP health reform proposal is passed in its current form.

Read the rest here.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Bill White’s message to congress

  1. I am confused when it clearly states in the proposed HHS budget the following.
    “Supports substance abuse treatment services for the millions of Americans struggling with substance abuse disorders. The opioid epidemic, which took more than 33,000 lives in calendar year 2015, has a devastating effect on America’s families and communities.

    In addition to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration substance abuse treatment activities, the Budget also includes a $500 million increase above 2016 enacted levels to expand opioid misuse prevention efforts and to increase access to treatment and recovery services to help Americans who are misusing opioids get the help they need.

    I would be happy to upload this part of the budget but not sure how on WP to upload a pdf.

  2. It’s hard for me to speak to to this without more specifics, but I’ll take a stab at it.

    First, the 21st Century Cures Act (https://goo.gl/U7xtGy) was passed in December 2016 and provides $500 million to HHS for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 for the opioid crisis. I’m wondering if that’s the new money they are referring to.

    Second, there are a lot of pots of money that are used for treatment and other community services to address the drug problem–medicaid, block grants, ONDCP, SAMHSA, etc. You could increase spending in one pot of money while decreasing the other pots and have a net decrease in spending.

    Third, Bill White was talking about the effects of rolling back medicaid expansion. It’s estimated that medicaid expansion added treatment access for 1,286,550 Americans (in the 31 expansion states https://goo.gl/qDo0xc) with severe mental health and substance use problems.

    To be sure, that $500 million is far less than the substance use disorder treatment needs of those 1,286,550 Americans. And, if it is the 21st Century Cures Act money, a lot of that money will be spent on things other than treatment, like prescription drug monitoring systems, training doctors in safer prescribing, etc.

  3. I emailed you the HHS budget “proposal” and the entire Budget proposal. Of course, I guess time will tell since it is just a proposal of discretionary spending at this point. I am sure it will get chopped up in the legislature. I still think and I am sure you agree that these 30 day rehabs don’t work. NOW that would be huge if we could get insurance companies to extend that. Let me know if you think it is the Cures Act money being spent.

    • It’s impossible to know from that document, but the number matches and the reference to prevention would fit, so I’d guess that’s the Cures money.

      As for changing private insurance benefits to require better access to long term care, all signals are that the current White House and Congress want to move away from minimum benefit requirements in private plans.