The Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association on Friday rolled out an analysis of the legislation, House Bill 1, that estimates that the $15.1 million cost to implement the plan, which was calculated by the Rauner Administration, would be offset by $73.2 million in healthcare savings from the remainder of the Illinois Medicaid budget or a net savings of $58.1 million, an estimate the group describes as “conservative.”
“Our cost-benefit analysis of the anti-heroin legislation reveals that, once the other healthcare savings are offset, the Illinois Medicaid program would save an estimated $58.1 million,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “We consider that a conservative estimate because no prison cost savings were included in our calculations.”
Rauner vetoed sections of the legislation that would have granted Medicaid insurance coverage for medication such as Methadone and Naltrexone and therapy programs to treat addiction.
Illinois heroin overdose deaths have been escalating since 2011, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data. Last year, 633 heroin overdose deaths were recorded in Illinois, up from 583 in 2013. In fact, Illinois has the highest number of heroin overdoses nationwide, Howe noted.
Howe also pointed to a just published Roosevelt University study that showed that Illinois funding for drug treatment has fallen nearly 30% since 2007 while treatment capacity has fallen 52% during that same period - making Illinois the worst state in the nation for declining treatment capacity.
“Illinois - the suburbs, downstate especially - are being swept up in a heroin wild fire that is consuming teenagers and young adults as the principal victims,” said Howe. “Lawmakers recognized the danger. That’s why the Illinois House voted 114-0 in favor of the bill.”
Howe pointed out that in fiscal year 2014, there were 20,870 Illinois residents who entered publicly funded treatment indicating a problem with either Heroin or prescription opiates. Only 2,099 received Opioid Maintenance Therapy treatment.
IADDA’s vice president for substance abuse policy, Eric Foster, said that the group based its financial impact analysis on an average of healthcare savings-offset of $4.87 per person who would be expected to be eligible for heroin treatment using Methadone.
“By leaving heroin addiction untreated, the accompanying ill-health side effects, for which a person is otherwise Medicaid eligible, spread, worsen and cost far more to address,” said Foster. “‘Saving $15 million on left-side of the spreadsheet means nothing if you’re spending $73 million on the right-side of the spreadsheet.”
The Illinois House is expected to seek an override vote on Wednesday, September 2.