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Senate Health Bill Could Hurt Addiction Treatment, Advocates Warn

Montgomery County mental health officials say the Medicaid cuts proposed in the Senate bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, The Better Care Reconciliation Act, could reduce the county’s ability to deliver addiction treatment services. Montgomery County has one of the highest rates of drug-overdose deaths per capita in the United States.

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Jodi Long is director for treatment and recovery at the Montgomery County Department of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Long says Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has helped many opioid users afford needed addiction treatment.

“And it is still more cost effective to pay for treatment than it is to pay for prisons, to pay for jails, to pay for hospital, other medical costs related to untreated addiction,” she says.

Long says Medicaid currently covers addiction treatment for nearly 4,000 people in Montgomery County. If the Senate health bill passes, she says it could leave many people without affordable treatment options.

Lawmakers have delayed a vote on the proposal until after the July 4 holiday recess.

Read more about the Senate bill at NPR.

Long appeared Tuesday on the NPR program On Point. Listen to the full interview here.

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