Advocacy Group Educates State Lawmakers on Benefits of Addiction Coverage

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the Affordable Care Act. An advocacy group called Legal Action Center provides legal assistance to people who are suffering from battles with substance abuse and addiction. Under the Affordable Care Act, those suffering from mental and substance disorders are included under essential health care benefits.

Director for National Policy for the Legal Action Center, Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, JD said, “We are very pleased with the ruling, and excited to move forward in working with policymakers and advocates to ensure that the law is well implemented for people with substance use disorders and mental health needs.”

Also under the Affordable Care Act, health benefits will be available to everyone, including low-income families. This means that the Medicaid population will increase. However, the federal government is not allowed to force states to expand Medicaid coverage so it will be up to the discretion of each state on whether they will move forward with the Medicaid expansion. Health insurance providers will be anxious to see if states allow for Medicaid expansion since the population of eligible applicants will significantly increase.

Since tax payers will risk receiving a tax penalty if they don’t provide proof of insurance coverage on their 2014 tax returns, insurance providers hope states will allow for the  expansion of Medicaid coverage. “We certainly are concerned about this. But we are very much hoping that states will take advantage of the expansion,” de la Gueronniere added.

Although “essential health benefits” packages will vary by state, de la Gueronniere hopes to educate policymakers about the benefits of providing increased health coverage to all individuals including those with substance abuse disorders. Legal Action Center plans to use the help of advocates of addiction and mental health fields to educate state lawmakers about the great strides equal opportunity health coverage can do for recovering addicts and communities.

To read the full article, click here.


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