BC-US--Health Overhaul,ADVISORY, US

Editors:

Calling your attention to the following story, part of the AP's ongoing coverage of the national health care reforms. This story explores the gap between the available services and the number of people who will be eligible for substance abuse treatment once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect.

The story and its accompanying state-level data will move in advance for your internal review on Friday, but it is not for publication on that date. It will move live on Tuesday, April 16, for use in newspapers of Wednesday, April 17.

The state-level data will move in advance to give AP members a chance to localize the story if they desire.

HEALTH OVERHAUL-ADDICTION TREATMENT

CHICAGO — It has been six decades since the medical community concluded that addiction was a disease that could be treated, but still today no other medical condition dwells more in the shadows. Just 1 cent of every health care dollar in the U.S. goes toward addiction, and few alcoholics and drug addicts receive treatment. One huge barrier, according to many experts, has been a lack of health insurance for the disorder. But that barrier crumbles in less than a year. In a major break with the past, 3 million to 5 million people with drug and alcohol problems — from homeless drug addicts to working moms who drink too much — suddenly will become eligible for insurance coverage under the new health care overhaul. But those eager for a new chance at sobriety may be surprised by the reality behind the promise. The system for treating substance abuse is small and thinly staffed and already full to overflowing in many places. Six months before enrollment begins for the new health insurance plans, addiction treatment represents an extreme example of one of the new health law's challenges: actually delivering all the care that people are entitled to. By AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson.

AP Photos.

AP Video.

With:

— BC-US_Health Overhaul-Addiction-Glance, a state-by-state list of those receiving treatment and eligible for treatment under the Affordable Care Act.

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