HHS Secretary Willing to Loosen Medicaid Restrictions on Addiction Treatment

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says he is willing to loosen Medicaid restrictions on addiction treatment, according to The Washington Post.

At last week’s White House summit on opioids, Azar said he is willing to exempt more state Medicaid programs from a restriction that limits where people struggling with addiction can get treatment.

Azar said he told state governors recently that he is prioritizing Medicaid waivers, which allow states to get around a federal law that bans facilities with more than 16 beds from providing addiction treatment. He said HHS has granted waivers to five states, including West Virginia and Kentucky, and he encouraged more states to apply.

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis last year recommended granting waivers to all states. “This will immediately open treatment to thousands of Americans in existing facilities in all 50 states,” the report said.

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