The Addiction Crisis in Missouri

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The Addiction Crisis in Missouri

A recent article in Governing Magazine revealed the advancement in treatment of and recovery from opioid and heroin addiction made in states that have accepted Medicaid Expansion.  This analysis highlights the lack of progress made in Missouri because our state government has thus far rejected Medicaid Expansion, instead sending Missouri taxpayers’ dollars to subsidize programs in Maryland and Massachusetts where progress on the blight of addiction is being made.  Read highlights from the article below and the entire magazine story on the link.

“Even as they race to control a spiraling heroin and prescription opioid crisis, doctors, public health officials and community leaders in many states are struggling to get care to addiction patients because of persistent opposition to the Affordable Care Act from local political leaders.

“As a result, thousands of poor patients are languishing on waiting lists for recovery programs or are unable to get medicine to combat addiction because they can’t afford prescriptions, according to health officials nationwide.  …

“‘The best way to get treatment if you’re addicted to drugs in Missouri is to get pregnant,’ said Dr. Joe Parks, director of that state’s Medicaid program, which has not been expanded.

“Medicaid expansion would bring billions of federal dollars into Missouri and other states…

“Missouri had the 16th-highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in 2014, according to a recent analysis by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

“‘Not expanding Medicaid has been a tragedy,’ said Mark Stringer, the state’s mental health director.’”

In contrast, look at the results in state’s that have accepted Medicaid Expansion.

Maryland’s program: “But Olsen said that as Medicaid coverage has expanded, more patients are coming in who wouldn’t have tried to quit previously because it was so difficult to get into a program. Now, patients have more options, as new addiction clinics are opening.”

Massachusetts’s program: “Today, nearly half of the patients who come through the program are on Medicaid, which often offers better coverage for addiction medications than some private health plans, she said.”

What about the future of funding for addiction treatment?

“’In states that have expanded Medicaid, this legislation is going to be very helpful,’ Waller said. ‘Everywhere else, it’s just window dressing.'”

Read the full story here.