Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has recently been dodging questions regarding healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but her history shows that she may oppose it. The abolishment of the ACA could affect millions of lives, including those who desperately need treatment for substance abuse. Indeed, the opioid crisis continues to wage on, even the face of COVID. Recent statistics show that in 2018, nearly 70% of the more than 67,300 overdose deaths involved an opioid.
Undoubtedly the most significant healthcare case to be addressed before the Supreme Court is a lawsuit that challenges the ACA’s constitutionality. This lawsuit seeks to eliminate the health reform law’s personal mandate penalty, and in essence, the entire law. The Supreme Court is currently scheduled to hear arguments regarding the case on November 10, just one week after the presidential election.
Barrett has repeatedly questioned whether the ACA is constitutional, according to Inside Health Policy. For example, before Barrett joined the federal circuit court in 2017, she wrote a law review article reprimanding the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling that upheld the ACA’s individual mandate as a tax. She pointed blame at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who was considered a swing vote that ultimately kept the law in place.
“Roberts pushed the [ACA] beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute. He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did—as a penalty—he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress’s commerce power.”
Barrett has also praised late Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion regarding King v. Burwell, a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA’s subsidies are constitutional.
Considering the latest objection is centered on the ACA’s individual mandate penalty and that Barrett has questioned the legal principle of deferring to past precedents, many legal experts presume that Barrett would support eliminating the ACA in the case currently before the court that challenges the law’s constitutionality.
The Affordable Healthcare Act and Addiction Treatment
The Affordable Care Act names substance use disorders as one of the ten elements of essential healthcare benefits. This means that as of 2014, all health insurance sold on Health Insurance Exchanges or provided by Medicaid to certain newly eligible adults is required to include services for the treatment of substance use disorders.
More healthcare providers can offer and be reimbursed for these services by the inclusion of these benefits in insurance packages, resulting in more individuals gaining access to treatment. The substance abuse services that will be covered are currently being determined by the DHS (Department of Health and Human Services). It considers evidence regarding which services allow individuals to get the treatment they need and most effectively help them recover.
Under the ACA, addiction can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition from an insurance perspective. The ACA sponsors insurance plans available for purchase on an online platform known as the Health Insurance Marketplace. These medical insurance plans offer substance abuse treatment coverage comparable to private insurance.
Need-based tax credits ensure that many ACA plans are less costly for those who buy them. The ACA also expands funds and addiction treatment options available to Americans covered by Medicaid and Medicare. The costs and requirements for these coverages are different from Marketplace insurance plans.
What ACA Health Insurance Covers
Under the ACA, coverage for substance abuse treatment must be as comprehensive as any other medical procedure. Some of the services offered through these insurance plans include the following:
- Addiction evaluation
- Brief intervention
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Clinical and home health visits
- Alcohol and drug screening
- Family counseling
ACA health insurance plans also help with inpatient programs such as medical detox.
Several states manage their own Health Insurance Marketplace programs separate from Healthcare.gov. Variations between state and federal insurance plans are based on Medicaid and Medicare coverage differences in each state.
Getting Treatment for Substance Abuse
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer comprehensive, state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment programs in partial hospitalization and residential format. We employ caring, highly-trained health and addiction specialists who facilitate therapeutic services and activities to those we treat with compassion and expertise. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- Peer group support
- Individual and family counseling
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Relapse prevention techniques
- Mindfulness meditation
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni programs