Of the estimated 22 million Americans who have a drug or alcohol addiction that needs treatment, only 10 million receive it, Vestal reports. The opioid epidemic killed 33,000 people in 2015, and the epidemic is especially problematic in rural areas and Appalachia. (Stateline map: Where Medicaid pays for longer addiction treatment or has been asked to)
Eliminating the 16-bed prohibition "means millions in new federal Medicaid dollars will flow to treatment centers that now rely on limited state and local grants," Vestal writes. "In addition to offering inpatient treatment to patients who need it, state Medicaid addiction programs must include all available addiction medications, intensive outpatient therapy, recovery support services such as job training and housing, substance abuse prevention programs, case management and physical health services. States also must prove that adding more residential treatment slots to the list of Medicaid treatment options will cost no more than continuing to prohibit it."