October 20, 2021

Senator Hassan Discusses How Expanded Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Coverage Are Helping Address the Substance Misuse Crisis at Senate Hearing

Sen. Hassan Also Highlights Dartmouth-Hitchcock “Moms in Recovery” Program as an Innovative Way to Support New Mothers Battling Substance Use Disorder

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Finance Committee today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan discussed how expanded Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid coverage are helping to address the substance misuse crisis in New Hampshire.

 

To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.

 

Senator Hassan asked Dr. Sara Collins, Vice President for Health Care Coverage and Access for the Commonwealth Fund, about how Medicaid coverage is playing an important role in expanding access to substance use disorder treatment.

 

“New Hampshire has been ravaged by the substance use disorder crisis, and we’ve seen firsthand how Medicaid-covered behavioral health care has improved access to treatment,” said Senator Hassan. “As Governor of New Hampshire, I worked to expand Medicaid to ensure that Granite Staters would have access to the care that they need, which includes treatment for substance use disorder. Since that time, this access to coverage has been a critical part of our state’s response to the substance use disorder crisis.”

 

Dr. Collins agreed that Medicaid has been critical to address substance misuse issues. “Medicaid has been so important for substance abuse issues, also just mental health just generally across the population…. It’s been a critical part of our ability to address this crisis that we’re seeing in substance abuse and drug overdose deaths,” said Dr. Collins.

 

Senator Hassan also discussed the importance of supporting new mothers struggling with substance misuse and highlighted an innovative program in New Hampshire that is working to address this challenge.   

 

“Postpartum depression and other perinatal health challenges can obviously exacerbate substance use disorders. Expanded Medicaid and ACA plans have helped ensure that mothers with substance use disorders have access to the specialized care that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “In New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s ‘Moms in Recovery’ program provides access to mental health professionals, child care, women’s health care, and medication-assisted treatment, among other supports.”

 

Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s innovative “Moms in Recovery” program, which Senator Hassan previously visited, provides medication-assisted treatment, counseling and parenting classes, and other essential services to help pregnant and parenting women struggling with substance misuse. Dr. Linda Blumberg, an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, agreed that having health insurance coverage for mothers has a positive impact on them and the health of their children.

 

Senator Hassan is leading bipartisan efforts to combat the substance use disorder crisis, and since 2017, the Senator has worked to secure a nine-fold increase in funding to New Hampshire to address the substance use disorder epidemic. Last year, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan became law to help prevent opioid trafficking by further ensuring that personnel at the Department of Homeland Security can more easily detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Earlier this year and following Senator Hassan’s advocacy, the Biden administration removed some requirements that limited health care providers’ ability to prescribe buprenorphine, a critical medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

 

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