Republicans Aren’t Talking About The Biggest Contributor To Rising Health Care Costs
Caroline O.

In my opinion, one large factor for the increase in healthcare spending is the country’s continued struggle with addiction — specifically to opioids. Calling it an “epidemic” at this point may actually be putting it lightly.

Prescription pills have been handed out near-indiscriminately by medical professionals for decades. Setting aside the debate over whether or not these professionals were fully aware of the potential for addiction for a moment — the fact is many Americans are now suffering as a result.

And where are they forced to turn for treatment? In many cases, Medicaid.

So, is that the crutch? Treating and caring for an addiction-addled nation reliant on government-provided healthcare?

The 2016 Surgeon General’s report, Facing Addiction in America cited some interesting — and eye opening data:

  • Every dollar spent on substance abuse disorder treatment saves $4 in healthcare costs
  • Every dollar spent on substance abuse disorder treatment saves $7 in criminal justice costs
  • The consequences of untreated addiction costs the US economy approximately $442 Billion per year

There is no clear or easy answer, which makes the current debate over health insurance in Washington so crucial. However, I think that the effect that opioid addiction has on ballooning healthcare expenditures is obvious — how much fighting against addiction will ultimately cost or save us unfortunately isn’t.