More than 22,000 West Virginians with substance use disorders have gained health coverage through Medicaid Expansion, according to a report released earlier this month in National Health Law Program. Medicaid Expansion was a voluntary provision of the Affordable Care Act.
The report outlined the impact both Medicaid and the ACA marketplaces have on fighting the opioid epidemic. Medicaid currently pays almost 50 percent of the cost of Buprenorphine in West Virginia – a medication used to treat opioid dependency – as well as for inpatient treatment when necessary. West Virginia has one of the highest rates of opioid overdoses in the country.
As Republican Congressional leaders consider repealing the ACA, including changing funding for Medicaid to a block grant or per capita cap program, ACA supporters say they are concerned the move will reduce access to substance disorder treatment for the expansion population. Cuts or changes to Medicaid funding could also inhibit current efforts to expand substance disorder treatment programs throughout the state.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.