Senior Policy Analyst
As the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee meets tomorrow on the federal response to the opioid epidemic, it should consider the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showing that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion is providing essential mental health and substance use disorder treatment. And while the committee discusses how to support states’ efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the Republican majority in Congress should end its efforts to repeal the ACA, which would undermine access to care for millions of people struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.
The report shows that the Medicaid expansion has been critically important for low-income adults in the four expansion states that GAO studied: West Virginia, Iowa, New York, and Washington. GAO found that:
States need every available tool to help fight the opioid crisis as well as prevent and treat future public health crises. Repealing the Medicaid expansion would eliminate essential tools for states fighting the opioid epidemic, and it would put mental health and substance use treatment out of reach for millions of people who are in the fight of their lives.