How weird is intergovernmental relations in the US? The federal government is making a hard push to give states money for mental health and opioid abuse, but many governors don’t want to accept…
Opioid abuse and mental health have been major talking points in the 2016 elections thus far. Both are rare issues in which both Democrats and Republicans agree on that more can be done. The problem however is not in the conversation that this should be tackled, but it’s a conversation of how it should be tackled.
Recently the Obama administration came up with an idea, to provide opioid abuse and mental health coverage through the expansion of the Medicaid program. The problem however, expanding Medicaid would also be expanding the dreaded healthcare program that many conservatives only speak in hushed tones; yes, we’re talking about the Affordable Care Act (or aka Obamacare)!
For many conservative governors, this is an absolute deal breaker, even if the federal government would be flipping the majority of the bill for addiction and mental health service coverage in their state. Of course the expansion would specifically be in regards to poorer individuals, which statistically are more likely to be suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues and/or drug abuse problems. As of right now there are 19 states – 18 of them having Republican governors – that currently refuse the Medicaid expansion in their state. This week, the Obama administration made another push through a report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Yesterday HHS released a report that makes a case for providing opioid abuse and mental health services through the expansion of the Medicaid program. In the 17-page report, they cite multiple studies showing how expanding the Medicaid program would benefit many seeking treatment for mental health and opioid abuse, which number around 2 million within the 19 states.
The expanding of Medicaid in these remaining states is still one of the biggest challenges regarding the ACA that the Obama administration still faces. As for the states with Republican governors, many have refused to expand Medicaid arguing that costs would increase drastically overtime. While not all GOP governors oppose Medicaid expansion, an example is GOP governor and presidential candidate John Kasich opted Ohio into the expansion program. Still it’s a fight that doesn’t look to end anytime soon. Sadly those who are currently in this political cross-fire are also the most vulnerable.
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