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OPINION

LETTER: Opiod treatment better under Affordable Care Act

Pennsylvania

The defeat of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal on Friday, July 28, was a win in Pennsylvania’s fledgling fight against the opioid epidemic.

Nikki Byer, of Etters, holds her "Repair don't repeal The ACA" sign during a #TuesdaysWithToomey protest Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, outside of the Federal Building in Harrisburg. Amanda J. Cain photo

At the neighborhood clinic where I serve as a nurse practitioner, my patients rely on their health insurance to cover the tens of thousands of dollars in costs for opioid addiction treatment, including prescriber visits, counseling and medication.

Because of the Medicaid expansion, and the essential health benefits that guarantee addiction services are included under the ACA, about 3 million more Americans with substance abuse now have insurance coverage.

If the ACA is repealed, these folks would lose their coverage and $5.5 billion annually would be cut from opioid addiction services. Washington politicians like Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey should be fighting to help prevent the deaths of the 13 Pennsylvanians who perish each day from drug overdose, instead of trying to give their healthcare funding away to millionaires and pharmaceutical and health insurance companies.

TARIK KHAN

Philadelphia