Medicaid Patients in South, Midwest Less Likely to Find Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Medicaid patients in southern and Midwestern states are less likely than those in other parts of the country to have access to outpatient addiction treatment, according to a new study. About 60 percent of counties in the United States have at least one such facility that accepts Medicaid patients, HealthDay reports.

Areas with a higher percentage of black, rural and uninsured residents are less likely to have substance abuse treatment facilities that accept Medicaid, researchers from Emory University report in JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers noted the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has the potential to help address gaps in Americans’ access to treatment for drug or alcohol abuse in states that opt in to the expansion, “but only if an infrastructure exists to serve new enrollees.”

A study published in 2012 by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that fewer people die when states expand their Medicaid programs. The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine as states were deciding whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court ruled that states do not have to expand Medicaid, as was required by the law.

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