George Soros Gives $10 Million to Improve Access to Addiction Treatment through Health Insurance, Reports Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly

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Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly reports that philanthropist George Soros and his foundation, the Open Society Institute, will call for proposals for demonstration grants asking insurance companies to cover the costs of addiction treatment and he will donate $10 million to his addiction initiative.

The focus of philanthropist George Soros $10 million addiction initiative is insurance, reports Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly (ADAW) exclusively in its February 11, 2008 issue. The call for proposals for the demonstration grants, which come from Soros' Open Society Institute, will focus on why there is a treatment gap and what can be done about it. The New York City-based philanthropy is to issue the request for proposals on Monday, February 11.

"We're going to look at the role of the public sector, and ask government to pay for people who lack insurance, but not as a replacement for what other insurance should be paying for," Victor A. Capoccia, Ph.D., director of the OSI initiative, told ADAW. "We don't want public funds subsidizing what should be an insurance responsibility for this health issue."

Most people who need addiction treatment don't get it because of lack of insurance, but that doesn't necessarily mean the government should step in and cover their treatment. Instead, health insurance which covers other medical conditions should also include addiction treatment.

"Insurance, and policymakers in jurisdictions that are moving to universal health care, or coverage for all, should regard addiction as a medical condition," said Capoccia. "There are more than 22.5 million Americans with a substance use disorder, but only 2.5 million get treatment," he said. "If 23 million people had a cardiac condition or diabetes and the health care system was only addressing 2 million of them, there would be lots of voices before Congress saying that insurance coverage has to address these conditions, and pushing political leaders to provide assistance to people who don't have insurance."

Grants will be for up to $600,000 each, and there will be at least six grantees. More information about the RFP will be available February 11 at http://www.treatmentgap.org.

Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly covers the addiction field and is published by John Wiley & Sons.

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