Medicaid is at the core of the opioid overdose epidemic. Both state and federal government reactions continue to shape the outcomes of this epidemic while death rates in some states continue to increase. There is a strong correlation between those suffering from opioid use disorder and those eligible for Medicaid. Most significantly, individuals with opioid use disorder enrolled in their state’s Medicaid program experience greater positive health outcomes compared to those without coverage. Furthermore, states with expanded Medicaid coverage tend to positively impact social determinants of health for individuals with opioid use disorder. Notwithstanding these critical figures, the positive, ameliorative implementation of Medicaid programs is under attack as several states are erecting new work-requirement rules and the federal government is pushing for a block grant funding model, all of which will make access to health insurance more difficult for those suffering from opioid use disorder.
Nicolas P. Terry is Hall Render Professor of Law, Executive Director, Hall Center for Law and Health, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.