We all know what the big news in health care is this week. I’d like to offer NCADD Nationals’ perspective on this issue.

According the NCADD, “The new law takes a public health approach to treating substance use disorders by requiring insurers to cover treatment for substance use disorders the same way they would other chronic diseases starting in 2014.”

The announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Act will have a major impact on the nation’s health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.

The Court’s ruling on the key individual mandate provision has received the most attention due to the requirement that nearly all Americans must either buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Individual mandates will not be required for another 18 months, but many other provisions already have gone into effect, such as free wellness exams for seniors and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies.

The NCADD points out other impacts:

Health Care – millions of Americans will be affected; coverage for some, premiums for others. Doctors, hospitals, drug makers, insurers, and employers large and small all will feel the impact.

States – some of which have moved ahead with the health care overhaul while others have held back — now have decisions to make. A deeply divided Congress could decide to re-enter the debate with legislation.

The Presidential Race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is sure to feel the repercussions. Obama’s health care law has proven to be slightly more unpopular than popular among Americans.

Passed by Democrats along strictly partisan lines and still 18 months short of full implementation, the law is designed to extend health coverage to some 32 million uninsured people, ban insurers from discriminating against those with expensive ailments, and require nearly all Americans to buy insurance or pay penalties.

We will certainly have more information to share as the impact on addiction and substance abuse programs are developed.  In the meantime, this article has more information on the impact for California residents and this article includes responses from elected officials and health care organizations.

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