24 Million Will Lose Mental Health Coverage

3/17/2017

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In the middle of an opioid crisis and the highest suicide rate in 30 years, Congress shouldn’t desert its commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to mental health and substance use treatment.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), Congress’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would reduce funding for health coverage—from insurance plans to Medicaid—and put mental health care at risk.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that under the AHCA, 24 million Americans will lose mental health coverage by 2026. Of these, 14 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid.

Overall, the AHCA would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. A large amount of those reductions in federal spending come from Medicaid and the elimination of subsidies for non-group health insurance included in the ACA.

Nearly 1 out of 3 people covered by Medicaid expansion lives with a mental health or substance use condition. NAMI stands ready to fight any threat to Medicaid that makes its way through Congress.

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle share NAMI’s concerns. Democrats in the House and Senate are united against the repeal effort. Meanwhile, four Republican Senators have published a letter criticizing the bill and how it fails to protect Medicaid.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) warns that the bill would strip millions of health care. "We recognize how different the needs of our states are, but our citizens should have access to affordable health care and to choose the path that works best for them," Sen. Collins said.

“There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill,” Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) said during the Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the AHCA.

Coverage for mental health care helps people get treatment when they need it—allowing them to stay in school, on the job and in recovery.

Stand with the 24 million.

Tell Congress not to strip away America’s mental health coverage.