To: President Donald Trump and The United States House of Representatives
PRESIDENT OBAMA: PLEASE DON'T LET POOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE SUFFERERS DIE.
President Obama must issue an executive order to halt implementation of a harmful new Medicaid rule that limits coverage for addiction treatment to a mere 15 days.
Why is this important?
A change to Medicaid rules set to take effect in January will result in more drug-related crime and more overdose deaths and will harm our ability to effectively address the drug epidemic.
Every day in this country 129 people die from drug overdose, and many thousands more are treated in emergency rooms. Many of those are people without commercial health insurance, either because they were born and raised in poverty or because they were once comfortable, before drugs took everything they had. The “why” doesn’t matter. They are still human beings and our fellow citizens and we should care for them.
And we do. Medicaid, a federally funded program, working in conjunction with states that accept its assistance, provides necessary medical care for indigent Americans.
This past summer the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) which oversees the administration of Medicaid, drafted new rules aimed at better serving Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. Some of the changes CMS came up with may be good. One, in particular, is not.
Currently, states that accept federal Medicaid matching funds are able to use that money to provide in-patient treatment for their indigent citizens with substance abuse issues for as long as they need that care.
42 CFR § 438.3(u) would change this long standing practice.
The new rule limits the federal Medicaid match for drug addiction treatment for the poor to 15 days a month. The new rule is the result of CMS viewing mental health and substance use disorder patients in the same light and concluding that if a 15 day per month in-patient stay is appropriate treatment for the mentally ill it is also appropriate treatment for the substance abuser. It is not.
Research tells us that effective inpatient treatment leads to long term sobriety and fewer relapses. A minimum of 90 to 120 days, not a maximum of 15 days, is what is needed for effective treatment.
29 U.S. Senators and 46 Governors are on record opposing implementation of the new Medicaid rule.
Fifteen days is simply not enough time to recover from the assault addictive drugs make on the body and to restore the life skills that keep a person from relapsing. The implementation of this rule will harm our fellow citizens with addictions who are poor, including pregnant addicted women, women with dependent children and low-level drug offenders coming out of jails and prisons.
Without adequate treatment many will turn, or return, to crime to get the drugs their diseased brain tells them they must have. Many will ultimately die.
In addition to the terrible human toll, substance abuse costs the U.S. economy between 400 and 600 billion dollars annually, depending on whose numbers you use. Effective treatment, including treatment paid for by Medicaid, can dramatically reduce these costs. According to several conservative estimates, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $12 in reduced crime and reduced healthcare and criminal justice costs. So spending money on treatment saves money in the long run.
PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AND TELL PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HALT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW 15-DAY LIMIT ON MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT AND ELIMINATE OTHER MEDICAID BARRIERS TO ADDICTION TREATMENT BY EXECUTIVE ORDER.