Please go to the Portland Press Herald to read the full article.
The loss of coverage in the state would come amid an opioid crisis in which an average of one person a day dies from an overdose.
By Joe Lawlor
An estimated 8,300 Mainers with substance use disorders will lose access to treatment programs if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, according to an analysis published Wednesday by researchers at New York University and Harvard Medical School.
The loss of coverage would come amid an opioid crisis in which Mainers are dying from drug overdoses at a rate of more than one person per day, according to state statistics. A record 286 Mainers died of drug overdoses from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 of last year, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office.
Maine currently has limited treatment options, especially for the uninsured, but many in the health care industry and government are working on plans to expand access. If the ACA were repealed, it would wipe out some gains the state is making to improve access to treatment, experts say.
“You can just feel the tension and anxiety in the air about the ACA,” said Bob Fowler, executive director of the Milestone Foundation, which operates a detox center in Portland and a drug treatment center in Old Orchard Beach. “It’s frustrating as can be. (Repealing the law) would be a major step backward.”
Fowler said a significant number of people treated at Milestone – he could not provide the percentage – have health insurance through the ACA.