By: Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO
“Over the past few weeks, under the guise of “repeal and replace,” we have witnessed an astonishing assault on the health care of all Americans. Thankfully, a vote will not happen today. But the facts are undeniable – with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), 24 million people would have lost their public or private insurance. Millions of these are people with serious mental illnesses. This is not something we can ignore or forget as we move forward. Lives are in the balance.
“The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has flaws that need to be fixed. But the AHCA, what we call Trumpscare, could never fix them. In fact, it would make things much, much worse.”
“As offered, the essential health benefits were gutted. Premiums would rise. People who lose coverage for any reason will face surcharges of 30 percent when they try to get it back – if they can get it back at all. Medicaid cuts would shift burden to states. These realities – and more – have drawn opposition from the vast majority of Americans, both left and right.
“For those who remain insured, benefits would be cut, and insurance premiums would rise as much as 15-20 percent or more. This is especially true for elders, but it would also be true for everyone across all age groups whose subsidy would decline and out-of-pocket costs would rise.
“MHA is pleased with today's outcome. The House of Representatives needs to go back to the drawing board—bringing both sides together—to come up with a viable solution that protects both health and mental health. Perhaps the Senate will add a dose of reality when it looks at this issue.
“At MHA, we thank all those who fought in the open - loudly and clearly - to implore members of Congress to oppose legislation that would do great harm to people with behavioral health conditions. In the weeks and months to come, we will continue to advocate on behalf of people with behavioral health concerns. We will work to protect funding for mental health for children and adults; for prevention and early intervention services, for integration, for peer-to-peer services, and for all services leading to recovery; for protection of the essential mental health benefits people need; for parity protections; and for choices in care, services, and supports for people with mental health concerns.”