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Medicaid Expansion Improves Access To Opioid Treatment

Medicaid expansion in Maine is starting to improve access to treatments for opioid use disorder.

The state's Medicaid expansion has provided health care coverage to low-income, mostly childless adults, most of whom were previously uninsured.

Of the 35,000 adults who gained coverage since the January expansion, 10% are receiving opioid treatment.

Health care experts have predicted that the expansion will result in 70,000 additional people enrolling in the program by the end of 2019. That would amount to roughly 7,000 additional Medicaid patients receiving opioid treatment.

The Portland Press Herald reports that opioid treatment typically consists of medication that curbs cravings combined with therapy.

But experts say many problems remain, including low Medicaid reimbursement rates for substance use treatments and lack of access to long-term residential treatment programs.