CWLA members were part of the masses that flooded Capitol Hill with calls and outreach in the past several weeks but especially last week.  Earlier this month, CWLA sent a letter to Capitol Hill opposing the American Health Care Act. In the letter,  CWLA President and CEO Chris James-Brown pointed out the importance of expanded mental health and substance abuse services and its impact on child welfare.  The letter and CWLA outreach to Capitol Hill highlighted some key facts:

  • More than $5.5 billion annually in substance use and mental health services has been made available due to the ACA
  • AFCARS data indicating that drug abuse by the parent as the primary reason for the child’s removal in 32 percent of cases, and a parent’s inability to cope a factor in a child’s removal in 14 percent of cases.
  • A full repeal of the ACA would result in a loss of coverage for 2.8 million people with a substance use disorder, including 220,000 people who have an opioid addiction. Additionally, it would eliminate mental health coverage to 1.2 million people with a serious mental health disorder.
  • Medicaid pays for 49.5 percent of medication-assisted treatment in Ohio, 44.7 percent in West Virginia, and 44 percent in Kentucky

Ultimately these factors helped to persuade some more moderate members and members from those states that have been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic to not support the cutbacks in coverage.