Drug Policy Alliance (New York NY)
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets the stage for a new health-oriented policy framework to address substance use and mental health disorders. By dramatically expanding and funding healthcare coverage to millions of currently uninsured people, the ACA represents a remarkable opportunity for criminal justice and drug policy reform advocates to advance efforts for policies promoting safe and healthy communities, without excessive reliance on the criminal justice solutions that have become so prevalent under the War on Drugs. This paper is intended as a starting framework for criminal justice and drug policy advocates to navigate the ACA, and to take advantage of the conceptual and practical opportunities it offers for shifting the conversation and the landscape” (p. 2). This report is divided into two parts. Part One--Basics Of The Affordable Care Act For Advocates: Insurance; Medicaid Expansion--Healthcare Insurance for Poor and Low-Income; What is Covered? Essential Health Benefits; and Healthcare Access and Coordinated Care Models Under the ACA. Part Two--Putting the ACA to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reform: Support Expansion of Medicaid and Other Forms of Healthcare Coverage; Increase Insurance Enrollment of People Currently in the Criminal Justice System; Maintain Active Medicaid Enrollment During Periods of Incarceration; Expand Use of Alternatives to Incarceration; Push for Use of Pre-Booking Diversion Programs (i.e. Front-End Diversion); Promote Changes in the Care Delivery System to Improve Outcomes for People Who Use Drugs; and Advocate for the Decriminalization of Drug Possession and Drug Paraphernalia. Also included is an executive summary.