SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article titled “How ACA Repeal Would Worsen the Opioid Epidemic,” whose lead author is Dr. Peter Friedmann, chief research officer for Baystate Health, who is a nationally recognized addiction-medicine expert.
“Although the Affordable Care Act was not designed with the opioid epidemic in mind, it provides valuable tools for expanding access to medication treatment — major health-insurance coverage expansion through Medicaid and the establishment of state health-insurance marketplaces, inclusion of addiction treatment as an essential health benefit that existing insurance plans must cover, and requirements that benefits for treatment of opioid-use disorder be provided at parity with coverage of medical and surgical procedures,” the article notes.
At its conclusion, the authors argue that “the opioid epidemic cuts across the lines of political polarization, touching nearly every community in this country. All of them will lose if the ACA is repealed and not replaced by a plan with comparable coverage and parity for treatment of opioid-use disorders.”
Over the years, Friedmann has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for work examining the organization of addiction-treatment services, implementation of evidence-based interventions for substance-use disorders, and the role of physicians in the diagnosis and management of unhealthy substance use. He is also associate editor of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence.