The United States’ newest president, Donald J. Trump, made extensive promises during his campaign to repeal and/or replace ObamaCare. Concerned citizens, both Democrats and Republicans, were curious to see how President Trump’s new healthcare proposal would stack up against the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as ObamaCare. Some specific topics of concern were the mandates and regulations imposed by the Republican healthcare plan, along with the cost, availability, and choices regarding coverage. While this article does not aim to provide a political analysis of the Republican healthcare bill, it will provide you with a sense of how ObamaCare handled drug rehab services, along with some of the changes that can be expected if ObamaCare is repealed, replaced, or modified.
The Big Ten
When the Affordable Care Act was first detailed, lawmakers told citizens that it would provide all Americans with comprehensive healthcare. In order to enforce this provision, legislators devised a list of ten essential elements of healthcare. These elements provide a description of what should be in a healthcare plan that can be considered comprehensive. Under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, all plans offered in the health insurance marketplace must cover:
- ambulatory patient services (outpatient care that’s given without being admitted to a hospital)
- emergency services
- hospitalization (including surgery and overnight stays)
- pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- mental health and substance abuse disorder services
- prescription drugs
- rehabilitative and habilitation services and devices
- laboratory services
- preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- pediatric services, including oral and vision care
As you can probably infer from the list above, the Affordable Care Act’s ten elements of a comprehensive healthcare plan include drug rehab and addiction services. This means that all healthcare plans offered in the United States must include coverage for drug rehab. The ten categories listed above are all considered equal, meaning that under the Affordable Care Act, substance abuse disorder treatment coverage and rehabilitative services coverage are considered equal to, for example, hospitalization and surgery coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, approximately 1.3 million Americans receive addiction treatment as the number of deaths caused by opiates nationwide skyrockets.
What would the impact of a Republican healthcare bill be on addiction treatment and rehabilitation services? How would the patients that receive drug rehab services be affected?
The Republican Healthcare Bill
As power within the American government changes hands, it’s customary to see a shift in political policy, including topics such as government spending and foreign relations. The healthcare plan proposed by House Republicans aligns with the more conservative visions of the Republican Party, as opposed to the more liberal views taken by the Democratic Party. This means a reduction in government spending and the deregulation of industry and commerce around the country. So, let’s discuss a few of the major changes that would be seen in the new Republican healthcare bill:
- No more mandate: The government would no longer penalize Americans for failing to have health insurance.
- Gap surcharge: To try and prevent people from having lapses in their coverage, this bill would also allow insurance companies to place a 30% surcharge on Americans who have a lengthy gap between health plans.
- Planned Parenthood: The new legislature would prevent Planned Parenthood and similar programs from receiving government funding through Medicaid and federal family planning grants.
However, the new legislation would preserve two of the most popular features introduced in the Affordable Care Act:
- The new legislation will allow young adults to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until the age of 26.
- The new legislation will bar insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.
The Republican Healthcare Bill And Drug Rehab
Now, let’s begin to discuss the impact that the new Republican healthcare bill will have on drug rehab and addiction services. Firstly, the Republican healthcare bill removes language that specifies mental health and substance abuse disorder services, along with rehabilitative and habilitation services and devices, from its list of required coverage points. This means that insurers will no longer be required by law to provide coverage for such expenses. However, you’ll be able to purchase a more comprehensive plan that provides coverage for these expenses if you wish. It’s important to understand that the new healthcare bill does not prevent insurers from providing drug rehab coverage; it just removes the mandate that makes it required to do so. As a consumer, you still have the right to choose which plan is best for you and provides you with the best coverage for your needs. If you know that you or someone in your family has struggled with addiction in the past, it may be wise to invest in a more comprehensive plan that provides full coverage for rehabilitation-related expenses. Patients who are currently receiving treatment will most likely be able to finish drug rehab, as the new healthcare bill will not take effect fully until 2020. On the other hand, having the benefit of choosing your own plan allows you to purchase the coverage that’s right for you, with no additional benefits. In some specific situations, this may end up lowering your overall cost.
While we wait for our legislators to draft and approve a final bill that spells out how America’s new healthcare system will work, it’s important to remember that democracy is controlled by its constituents. It’s important for each and every citizen to perform his or her civic duty, reach out to their lawmakers, and tell them their thoughts and concerns. Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s important to maintain a dialogue between yourself and your lawmaker(s) to have your voice heard. Whether you’re a current patient who relies on insurance for drug rehab and treatment, or a concerned family member wondering what could happen to your loved ones’ plans, rest assured you will be able to continue purchasing rehabilitation and addiction treatment coverage under your insurance plan, but it will not be mandated by law. If you disagree with this change, make sure to let your legislators know.
Contact Clearbrook For Drug Rehab
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or chemically dependency, please know that help is available. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing effective alcohol and drug rehab and treatment services to the affected individual. If you are tired of being trapped in the chains of addiction, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. We look forward to hearing from you.