Opioid crisis faces new threat: Repeal of Affordable Care Act

The prevention community is confronting a new threat in the quest to halt the opioid epidemic that has exploded nationwide: President Donald Trump’s vow to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Gary Mendell, founder of Shatterproof, a nonprofit formed to end the devastation that addiction causes substance users and their families, was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about fighting changes to the Affordable Care Act that would take insurance away from people with substance use and mental health disorders.

Four million people could lose life-saving treatment, he said.

“If they take back Medicaid expansion, and they eliminate the essential health benefits in the Affordable Care Act, which basically requires all insurance companies to cover mental health and addiction, we will lose $5.5 billion of insurance coverage.”

Mendell is working with health care and government partners to ensure that such a scenario does not happen. They are lobbying Republican legislators in states hard hit by the epidemic.

Opiate addiction is not a red state or a blue state crisis. It cuts across all states, and all racial, ethnic and economic groups. It affects men and women, young and old.

Learn more about Mendell's effort to sustain life-saving care for people with substance use disorders at Shatterproof.org.