No Obamacare Coverage For Medical Marijuana

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that in the government’s view it cannot be used safely even under medical supervision. (Cocaine and morphine, by contrast, are Schedule II controlled substances, out of deference to their “currently accepted medical use in treatment.”)

So according to Uncle Sam, no prescriptions for cannabis can legally be written. Even investigating the drug’s medical value is difficult: research-grade marijuana is controlled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is interested in studying addictiveness, not therapeutic potential.

The government’s position is a boon for health insurance companies, which of course don’t want to pay for anything they don’t have to. Obamacare has compelled insurers to make some changes to their penny-pinching ways: they can no longer deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions (or charge them more), and lifetime or annual dollar limits on essential health benefits are now prohibited. But the ACA doesn’t solve the problem of companies declining to cover certain treatments prescribed by physicians.

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