Medicaid and Medicare are only part of the problem... Doctors are reluctant to prescribe addiction fighting drugs because they know little about them.
Medicaid and Medicare are federal and state funded health insurance programs and they are woefully underfunded for addiction treatment and they are not helping to fight the nation’s drug addiction epidemic. Doctor's are also reluctant to subscribe addiction fighting drugs that are known to save lives.
"Doctors receive very little education in medical school about the treatment of addiction disorders, and they don't like to use treatments that they know little about."
Medicaid and Medicare are designed to help poor families access free or low-cost drug and alcohol addiction treatment - but they aren’t.
Although both of these government programs have different requirements for eligibility, and every State has different rules, these programs are a mess and almost impossible to maneuver. Certainly, Medicaid and Medicare are not designed to be smart, especially when it comes to covering effective treatment for addiction.
What About the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA)?
Under Obamacare, Medicaid is supposed to cover the basics for addiction treatment, but in reality the basics are not nearly enough.
While Medicaid covers addiction treatment, many addiction treatment centers won’t take Medicaid. Why? Because government operated health care is a nightmare and the cost to manage (get payment from Medicare) is too expensive. In other words, it’s not worth it.
Even though Medicaid generally covers a few effective treatment modalities for Opioid addicts, the addicts are not receiving the best available treatment. For example, Medicaid doesn't cover methadone, which is the longest-standing treatment for opioid addiction. This is only one of many major problems that have led to a serious lack of treatment for those who need it the most.
The facts are that Medicare and Medicaid patients are the fastest growing and have the highest rate of opioid abuse in the United States. And, only one in every three drug addicts diagnosed with “addiction” is receiving treatment.
A new study looking at 2013 Medicare Part D claims shows that doctors were making effective use of Suboxone, and 7,000 prescribers had filed 486,000 claims for Suboxone. The prescriptions were written for about 81,000 patients. However, this represents less than 2 percent of the 382,000 prescribers who had filed more than 56.5 million claims for prescription painkillers.
"What's more, most private insurance companies don't willingly cover Suboxone which is an effective treatment medication."
It is our opinion that there are not nearly enough treatment resources available for the poor. And, how many Opioid addicts are poor? People are dying…
For a recent article describing more of the details of the recent study pointing to possible solutions, read the post by Dennis Thompson by clicking on "Next Page" below.