The nation’s opioid epidemic claimed more than 42,000 lives in 2016, and more than 2 million people in the United States have an opioid use disorder (OUD)—with nearly another 10 million at risk due to misuse of these drugs. Yet, only 1 in 5 people suffering from an OUD receive treatment. The federal government has responded to the crisis by declaring a public health emergency and making over $500 million of OUD-targeted funding available to states last year. While critical, these dollars (and the programs they fund) pale in comparison to the scale and scope of resources the Medicaid program brings to states to combat the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders (SUD). Indeed, today, Medicaid covers more than 1 in 3 people with an OUD, and program spending for people with an OUD in 2013 (before Medicaid expansion in many states) was more than $9 billion. In this issue brief, data from three states—New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia—highlight Medicaid’s role as the linchpin in states’ efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
On May 30, 2018, a State Policy Academy on Global Budgeting for Rural Hospitals will take place in Baltimore, Maryland. Up to five state teams (with up to five members each) will be selected to participate. The State Policy Academy will be hosted by Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with the Milbank Memorial Fund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies, and the National Rural Health Association. Funding for the Policy Academy is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Milbank Memorial Fund. Participant travel expenses will be covered.