Despite public sentiment to the contrary, addiction treatment and healthcare are closely associated issues. Addiction – including alcoholism – destroys countless lives and breaks up families, is responsible for the deteriorating mental and physical health of thousands, is responsible for violence, crime, and the cost of housing prisoners, and leads to an astonishing number of OUI or DUI accidents and deaths. So if addiction and alcoholism are causing such destruction among the American public, then it's clear that these clinical diseases are a public health threat and therefore should be included as part of a total healthcare overhaul.

One of the most significant problems concerning addiction and the healthcare system is that a large percentage of Americans are either completely uninsured, or underinsured to the point that addiction treatment isn't a benefit of their plan. In most cases people who are uninsured or underinsured simply can't afford the premiums – or they think they can't afford it. Whatever the case is, the fact remains that it is those who are most stressed and disadvantaged who are likely to become involved with drugs or alcohol. Therefore, finding a way to change healthcare to make it more affordable for these people will be critical not only to preventing addiction, but to treating it as well.

Those on all sides of this issue often cite money as a serious problem preventing change in the healthcare system. And because addiction and alcoholism are often seen as conditions of weakness and not instances of disease, many are unwilling to put money into treatment efforts. However, according to the Open Society Foundation; "Studies show that addiction treatment significantly reduces emergency room, inpatient and total health care costs. While the overall cost savings have not been documented, there are clear signs of the potential for savings:*Total medical costs were reduced 26 percent among one group of patients that received addiction treatment.*A group of at-risk alcohol users who received brief counseling recorded 20 percent fewer emergency department visits and 37 percent fewer days of hospitalization."

Ultimately, what this means is that making addiction treatment a benefit of an affordable insurance plan can actually save the country money and alleviate a great deal of the fiscal burden that is now preventing change from occurring.

In 2008 the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was passed after years of avoidance of this issue on the part of both employers – who pay the premiums in most cases – and insurers – who assume the risks. The Act requires insurers to make benefits for addiction treatment and alcoholism available to their customers. But while this legislation was a move in the right direction, it still doesn't solve the problem that many people will never be able to afford this coverage – or any health insurance coverage at all. This is discouraging considering that the fact of the matter is that addiction treatment saves money and human lives. This means that overhauling the public health care system is critical in order to provide relief for the thousands of Americans suffering from this disease.

Click here now to speak confidentially with an addictions expert at one of the country's most successful inpatient drug rehab centers.

Or, learn about the most significant and persistent threat to recovery from alcoholism or addiction: Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms.

Author's Bio: 

Rick worked as a professional writer and editor for nearly a quarter century before getting involved in internet marketing via article marketing.