Medicaid/AHCCCS is helping fight the opioid crisis and saving Arizona money

For several years, Esther Saavedra was trapped in a vicious cycle of dependence. She first became addicted to prescription pills and later to heroin. It was an addiction that was taking over her life until she decided to seek help.

She entered a rehab program and began taking medications to help reduce her craving for heroin. It’s now been three years since she became drug free. Esther credits a big part of her recovery to AHCCCS.

“If it hadn’t been for the health insurance I have through AHCCCS, I would probably still be addicted to heroin,” she said.

Her health insurance covered the cost of the rehab program, which was a crucial part of her recovery, and the medications, which she is still taking today.

Esther’s life has improved tremendously since she quite heroin. She is now a mother of two – both of whom have health insurance through AHCCCS – and recently got a job at a behavioral health non-profit helping people struggling with addictions.

But with members of Congress considering cuts to programs like AHCCCS, she worries about how that could affect her.

“It would affect me greatly,” she said about the potential cuts. “I would have to debate on certain months whether I can pay for doctor’s appointments and my medication instead of paying for food or other bills.”

“And maybe I wouldn’t take my children to the doctor as much as I normally would want to because it would be too expensive,” she added. “Or maybe I wouldn’t get my medication because I couldn’t afford it that month.”

Without her medications, Esther runs the risk of relapsing and undoing the progress she has made. She said she shares her story so that members of Congress can understand the impact that cuts to AHCCCS would have on lives like hers.

Latest News

Almost half of Americans can’t afford basics like rent or food

The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle class life. Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE … Continued

Is KidsCare headed for another enrollment freeze?

Supporters of the children’s health insurance program KidsCare introduced a bill this year to eliminate a requirement that the state freeze enrollment if federal funding for the program drops by as little as a penny. But the bill has stalled at the legislature. Read the full article here on AZCentral. 

Why Some Americans are Risking It and Skipping Health Insurance

In a Phoenix suburb, the Bobbies and their son Joey will go uninsured so the family can save money to cover their nine-year-old daughter Sophia, who was born with five heart defects. Across America there are thousands of people like the Bobbies making the same hard decision to go without health insurance, despite the benefits. They’re … Continued