Group worried Trump will cut money for drug treatment

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, center, and Jeff Cooper, right, Montgomery County health commissioner, listen during a meeting by a steering committee of a new Community Overdose Action Team response to the heroin crisis. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, center, and Jeff Cooper, right, Montgomery County health commissioner, listen during a meeting by a steering committee of a new Community Overdose Action Team response to the heroin crisis. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Local leaders working on a plan to reduce the number of opioid deaths in Montgomery County are concerned changes in health care policy under President-Elect Donald Trump will undermine their efforts.

“Let’s hope Medicaid expansion doesn’t go away or we might as well all go home,” Jan Lepore-Jentlesen said during a meeting of about 50 public health officials, elected leaders, law enforcement, treatment providers, members of the judiciary and others. “A lot of lives have been saved because of that already.

Medicaid, the national health care program for those with disabilities or low income, pays for a vast majority of drug treatment programs — from detox to medication-assisted treatments like methadone and Suboxone and counseling. It is part of Obamacare, which Trump and national Republicans have vowed to dismantle.

About 5,000 Montgomery County Alcohol Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) clients were enrolled via Medicaid expansion in 2015, according to an ADAMHS spokeswoman. In Ohio, Medicaid expansion covered 676,850 Ohioans as of June 2016. Since the beginning of the program, 954,887 non-duplicated individuals have received coverage. Within that group, approximately 50 percent had a Medicaid claim for behavioral health services, which includes substance abuse, according to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

About the Author

ajc.com