Policymakers have suggested that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has fueled the opioid epidemic by subsidizing opioid pain medications. Led by PISC Past Trainee Edouard Coupet, MD, along with Senior Scholar Kit Delgado, MD, Internal Advisory Board Member Rachel Werner, MD, PhD, and colleagues analyzed emergency department (ED) encounters and out-of-hospital deaths before and after the ACA young adult dependent coverage expansion.
After the implementation of the dependent coverage expansion, there was no significant change in the year-quarter ED opioid overdose encounter rate when compared with the control group. Coupet et al.'s findings do not support claims that the ACA has fueled the prescription opioid epidemic.