Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) held a news conference in Cleveland today to discuss The Breaking Addiction Act of 2014 (H.R. 5136). The legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Fudge and cosponsored by Congressman Ryan. It establishes a five-year demonstration project to expand cost-effective, community-based treatment options to address the heroin/opiate epidemic.
The Breaking Addiction Act will enable participating states to receive federal reimbursement for Medicaid services provided to all eligible in-patients who receive treatment for chemical substance abuse at a community treatment facility. It partially waives what is known as the Institution for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. The 1965 law that created Medicaid excludes states from receiving federal reimbursement for services provided in an IMD with more than 16 patient beds. However, Congress did not foresee nearly 50 years ago that this exclusion would impede communities' ability to respond to the rapid escalation of heroin addiction and abuse of opiate-based prescription painkillers.
"As Democratic Co- Chair of the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus, I understand the damage substance abuse inflicts upon the state of Ohio and our nation. It is estimated that substance abuse costs the United States in excess of $600 billion annually in health, crime and lost productivity costs -- and this is nothing compared to the toll it takes on the families, friends, schools and communities affected. It imperative that we begin to stem this tide, and I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Fudge in support of the Breaking Addiction Act, which takes great strides to provide more individuals suffering from substance abuse with treatment options," said Congressman Ryan.
"Fatal drug overdoses now exceed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Heroin alone claims more lives in Cuyahoga County than homicides. This public health threat affects communities in all regions of the country -- impacting urban, suburban and rural areas alike," said Congresswoman Fudge. "By removing an outmoded barrier to funding for substance abuse treatment, we can go a long way toward reversing the heroin epidemic and saving lives. I am also confident that data collected from this demonstration project will show community treatment will lower the bill to taxpayers for overall health care and decrease law enforcement costs associated with opiate addiction."
The legislation also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to prepare a report at the conclusion of the project to evaluate the impact of permitting federal reimbursement for addiction treatment on a full range of health care items and services, including costs, access to care, readmissions and emergency care.