The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 as a signature effort to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. Included as part of the sweeping legislation is a program to fully subsidize COBRA coverage for six months starting in April of 2021. This expert perspective provides a short overview of COBRA and mini-COBRA, the major elements of the ARPA COBRA Assistance program, and considerations for state policymakers related to the program.
Medicaid: The Linchpin in State Strategies to Prevent and Address Opioid Use Disorders
April Grady, Patricia Boozang, Deborah Bachrach, Adam Striar, and Kevin McAvey, Manatt Health
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). 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.
The State Health Policy Highlights, View from the States: the Role of Medicaid in Preventing and Addressing Opioid Use Disorders provides an overview on the role of Medicaid in supporting state efforts to address the opioid epidemic.