What Proposed Budget Means for Families Fighting Addiction

Among their reasons for voting Trump into the presidency, supporters often cite his commitment to helping families who are struggling with addiction. Story after story is being told of Trump personally telling individuals and groups that he understood their plight, was moved by their loss of loved ones to addiction, and pledged his dedication to fighting the opiate addiction problem across the United States.

Said Trump at a White House listening session as recently as March: “We want to help those who have become so badly addicted.”

Trump’s latest budget proposal has these individuals baffled, if not furious, at what they see as a personal betrayal. If his proposal is accepted by the House and Senate, funding for research into addiction treatment research, prevention efforts, and treatment services would take a huge hit. Even worse, POTUS suggests it is an effective idea to cut spending on Medicaid over the next 10 years, the only medical care coverage for a number of individuals living with opiate addiction – as many as three in 10 adults.

The good news is that Congress has made it clear that they have little intention of passing the proposed budget. But for some who once were in full support of Trump’s presidency, this proposed budget was a wakeup call, evidence to them that the man they believed they voted into office is not the man who is leading the country today.

While cutting unnecessary spending has always been a big part of every politician’s platform, Trump focused specifically on the idea that money spent on social support organizations across the country, including healthcare, needed to be cut drastically. For many, this made sense, but for the families who rely on this healthcare coverage to get the lifesaving treatment they need to fight and manage an addiction, mental health, or other chronic disorder – who, as a result of these disorders, are not able to afford privatized care – the proposed changes may be life-threatening.

What do potential budget cuts mean for your family?

Political vs. Private

It is not always easy to see how changes that happen in Washington will impact your day-to-day life on a personal level. Big budget changes alter funding to local organizations that provide services you may take for granted, and insurance changes will mean that when you need treatment, it is far more difficult to get covered. When the time comes to enroll your loved one in treatment, you may find that:

  • There are fewer drug rehab programs nearby than you remembered.
  • The ones that are open have fewer spots available and therefore longer waiting lists.
  • Rehab programs have fewer support services to offer clients.
  • Out-of-pocket costs to clients above what is covered by insurance are higher.
  • It is far more difficult to get those initial payments covered by insurance without a long, drawn-out fight.
  • There are insurance requirements to first attempt to heal through less intensive, less expensive treatment options before the more comprehensive treatment options will be covered.
  • All treatment services will only be covered for the briefest time possible without extensive proof that a longer treatment period is needed.
  • Long-term support in recovery after the initial treatment period will not be covered or will be minimally covered for a brief time.

Creating Positive Change

If your family is struggling with addiction, your voice, your story, and your needs are important. Reach out to the people who represent you to let them know how you expect them to vote and what bills you believe should be presented. Change may not come overnight, but with persistence, it will come. Make sure that when the votes come up, you are well-versed in what is on the table, lobby for the causes you support in your community, and get out the vote.

In the meantime, if your loved one is facing addiction every day, it is essential to help them connect with treatment services as soon as possible. This, too, is not necessarily a quick and easy fix, but you can begin this process by:

  • Learning more about the treatment options available to you locally and across the state
  • Talking to your insurance company to find out what is covered and in what amount
  • Talking to your doctor about the options available in treatment and how best to address any insurance issues
  • Discussing treatment options with your loved one
  • Securing the funds to pay for out-of-pocket costs
  • Staging an intervention to help your family member recognize not only that treatment is needed but also that the time to get started is right now

What does your family need to begin the fight against addiction? What steps can you take to help other families in your position make sure that they have the healthcare coverage they need to secure treatment services for a loved one in crisis?

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