The bill signed into law by President Obama on March 23 will create a national prevention council with the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy as a member and alcohol and other drug addictions listed as a national priority for that council’s report to Congress.
While much attention has focused on the new law’s impact on treatment and coordination with the general healthcare system, the healthcare-reform package also does much to advance the cause of addiction prevention because no child can be denied coverage for pre-exisiting conditions, nor can insurers drop coverage of people with preexisting conditions like addiction and mental-health problems.
HR 3590 “promotes evidence-based clinical and community prevention with increased funding; incentives for local governments to improve community wellness; grants for small businesses to provide comprehensive workplace wellness; science-based nutrition information for families; and health screenings with personalized prevention plans covered by Medicare,” according to U.S. Preventive Medicine, a prevention-services provider. “The legislation also includes a pilot program to provide at-risk populations who utilize community health centers with individualized wellness plans to include nutritional counseling, physical activity plans, alcohol and smoking cessation counseling, and stress management.”
A public health and prevention fund that will provide $15 billion over 10 years to support home, school, and workplace prevention is included in the law, as well. “This new legislation promotes the development of a national prevention strategy which would align the views of most Americans with the policy and funding necessary to move toward a culture of prevention, personal responsibility and wellness,” said Ron Loeppke, M.D., vice chairman of U.S. Preventive Medicine.