Implementing the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment and Recovery in Health Care Reform

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates for the first time in our nation's history a "culture of coverage," where being insured is the norm for everyone. Over the next decade, the ACA will completely reshape the nation’s health system by making it easier for millions of Americans to obtain, to afford, and keep healthcare coverage regardless of age, occupation, or pre-existing medical condition including substance use disorders (SUD). This expansion in coverage, acting in concert with the Wellstone-Domenici Parity Act (2008), will enable the SUD field to reach an even greater portion of those at risk of or suffering from SUDs, and provide several new opportunities for the delivery of services.

With these opportunities, however, come challenges. The field must prepare for the key elements of the ACA that become effective in 2014. These challenges include accommodating the insurance industry changes, the increase in demand for SUD services brought on by expanded coverage and the delivery and financing of these services.

The purpose of this web page is to supplement existing federal, state and credible private websites covering the ACA, and, specifically, to provide information that will prepare the alcohol and other drug field for the ACA’s impact on California’s SUD health care system. As new material is made available, ADP will update the contents of this page periodically so that it remains current and relevant.

Implementing the new federal health care law in California focuses initially on 4 major tasks:

The ACA creates rules for the health insurance industry designed to improve coverage and protect consumers, including patients with substance use problems. read more
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) reshapes the nation’s health system to make it easier for millions of Americans to obtain, afford, and keep healthcare coverage. read more
Beyond expanding coverage, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is designed to improve service quality, health outcomes, and reduce overall health care costs. read more
This section will be updated when federal guidance and regulations for reimbursement for SUD services are released.

Useful Health Care Reform Resources

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, and was almost immediately amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act on March 30, 2010. The final amended version of the law is officially referred to as the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA). The ACA is also commonly referenced as “Health Reform,” “Healthcare Reform,” and “Health Insurance Reform.” The following documents are compiled from a variety of sources that use these and other terms. Every article examines issues related to the ACA and its implications to substance abuse disorder services.

Federal Health Care Reform At-a-Glance: Affordable Care Act Requirements for Substance Use Disorder Services
As perhaps the most significant legislation affecting the substance use disorder field, the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) public and private insurance expansion presents several opportunities to serve new clients with untreated SUDs, increase prevention efforts, improve service quality and health outcomes, and reduce overall health care costs. This document discusses several provisions of the ACA that will benefit those with substance use problems.

Other Summary/Resource Documents:

Various NIATx Healthcare and Parity Related Resources
ABSTRACT: This link connects to NIATx, a learning collaborative that researches and documents promising practices and innovative tools for behavioral health care. This repository serves as a valuable one-stop research warehouse for many current and future substance use disorder and health care topics.

What Will Federal Health Reform Mean for Californians?
Abstract: Drafted in March 2010, this article gives a brief overview of what to expect in the way of both challenges and benefits to the State of California under the ACA.

Kaiser Family Foundation Summary of the Affordable Care Act
Abstract: Drafted in March 2010, this article outlines the key components of the ACA and includes an implementation timeline.

Assessing Health Reform's Impact on Four Key Groups of Americans
Abstract: Drafted in July 2010, this article examines health care reform from the perspectives of four groups: those who are uninsured or eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program; those obtaining coverage in the individual or small-group markets; those obtaining coverage in the midsize or large-group markets; and Medicare beneficiaries.