Issue Brief , Report | Jul 1, 2016

Medicaid: States’ Most Powerful Tool to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Deborah Bachrach, Patricia Boozang, and Mindy Lipson, Manatt Health

With the United States in the midst of a worsening opioid epidemic, an examination of the resources and tools available to states in combating this crisis is critical.  With Medicaid serving as the largest source of coverage for behavioral health services, including those related to substance use disorders (SUDs), the role that it can occupy in addressing the epidemic is clear.  An additional 1.2 million individuals with SUDs have gained access to coverage in states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA.  This issue brief, developed by Manatt Health, reviews Medicaid strategies to combat the opioid epidemic.  The issue brief underscores the vital nature of Medicaid expansion as part of this effort, with at least 1.1 million adults with SUDs currently residing in non-expansion states.  The issue brief is part of a continuing series investigating the fiscal implications of Medicaid expansion.