A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found 36 percent more people entered treatment for substance use disorder in states that expanded Medicaid insurance coverage after four years as compared to states that did not.
The paper, published in the March issue of Health Affairs, suggests that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is improving access to substance use treatment and also increasing the availability of federal dollars to support drug treatment programs.
A research team, led by Dr. Brendan Saloner, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Public Health, analyzed the Treatment Episode Data Set, a federally mandated database for specialty treatment providers that accept public funding. Using treatment admissions and insurance coverage data, the researchers analyzed states before and after Medicaid expansion between 2010 and 2017.
They found the largest changes in admission for intensive outpatient programs and those seeking medications for opioid use disorder. Medicaid also paid for 89 percent more admissions for substance-use treatment in states that expanded coverage as compared to those that did not expand.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 06