How killing the ACA could lead to more opioid deaths in West Virginia and other Trump states

Source: Simon Haeder, The Conversation, July 24, 2017

…. While the exact nature of Republican repeal-and-replace efforts remains unclear at this moment, all proposals made public so far would pose enormous challenges for states like West Virginia to turn the tide on the devastating opioid epidemic.

One of the most essential tools in fighting the epidemic, the expansion of Medicaid, would be rolled back either immediately or over several years. Furthermore, the entire Medicaid program, the backbone of states’ efforts to provide treatment and services for opioid addiction treatment, would be further curtailed by per capita caps.

Moreover, all proposals would either outright eliminate or allow states to waive the crucial Essential Health Benefit provisions. These provisions require insurers to provide coverage for certain specified conditions, such as pregnancy, addiction treatment and emergency room care, that they might otherwise refuse to cover because of their costs.

Under certain proposals, lifetime and annual limits could also affect those covered by employer-provided insurance to lose access to crucial treatment options. ….