With all the noise surrounding President Trump and fellow Republicans’ second-chance go-ahead at undoing Obamacare, I thought that it would be useful to actually educate the addicts community and their loved ones about Obamacare as it specifically relates to addiction and mental health coverage.
The Affordable Care Act—Obamacare’s legal name—guarantees that “all plans must cover: behavioral health…mental and behavioral health inpatient services…[and] substance use disorder treatment,” according to healthcare.gov
Before Obamacare, various state laws exempted insurance companies from providing substance use and mental health treatment coverage. Just as important, pre-existing mental conditions are also covered under Obamacare. This is important because we all know that dual diagnosis is a common feature of addiction treatment.
A Growing Problem
Obamacare’s burgeoning popularity and perceived usefulness from 2015 to the present is a glaring testament to how revolutionary the law is, even though it gives private insurance companies a bigger foothold in American healthcare by requiring that everyone must have health insurance.
The peak of the opioid epidemic also occurred during this period. The stagnant economy and lack of jobs in many Rust Belt and agricultural communities facilitated the rise in drug use. With this problem increasing, can we really afford to repeal Obamacare protections?
Make no mistake, the drug addiction epidemic will continue to be a major problem for politicians to deal with. It is a symptom of economic stagnation. If Obamacare is eventually repealed, entire communities could be wiped out by drugs with no health insurance safety net.
The Future of Healthcare in America
All of the fuss surrounding healthcare in the last decade really proves to me—an avid follower of politics—that we will one day have universal healthcare in America. That day is probably a few decades away. The private health insurance system in America is too complex with so many “if A occurs, then B, C, and D will happen” scenarios.
Most Americans thought that if America adopts the socialized health insurance system in Europe, healthcare would be more complex. But I propose this question to them: after having witnessed how complicated this healthcare issue has been during the last decade in America, do you really think the mismatching state laws governing healthcare are less complex than the single-payer socialized system?
Under a single-payer system, workers’ income would be taxed at a higher rate, but we would not have to pay exorbitant premiums every month. If you are taxed an extra 10% on your income, that is a lot less than paying $1500 a month in premiums for your family’s health insurance under the current system as is the case in many American states currently.
A single-payer system would ensure that seniors get taken care of as well, because the pool of money to cover them would be bigger. The keyword here is LONGEVITY. So why don’t we pay it forward?