Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released a report that analyzes the House of Representative's proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act. The office projects that the new bill would leave 24 million people uninsured by 2026.
Such an increase could have big consequences for the more than 2 million people addicted to pain medication across the United States, including more than 200,000 in the Ohio Valley Region.
"Untreated addiction significantly drives up health care costs and drives up costs in other parts of our health and human services system, in our foster care system and other places," said Michael Botticelli former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and an ACA supporter. "So this – the numbers released in terms of the number of people who will lose coverage, who will be discontinued care and not have adequate access to addiction treatment will have a devastating effect in terms of both mortality, addiction and public safety in communities across the country."
ACA supporters say rolling back ACA provisions, including funding to Medicaid, will disproportionately affect poor Americans since lower-income people are at greater risk for opioid use disorders.
Meanwhile Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters to disregard the congressional report. Politico reports the secretary believes the plan will "cover more individuals at a lower cost and give them the choices that they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and for their families."
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.