In response to the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) yesterday, six major medical organizations jointly released a statement urging the Senate to “put aside” the AHCA and instead work with them to “achieve real bipartisan solutions to improve affordability, access, and coverage for all.”
The six groups that signed onto the statement are the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Osteopathic Association. They collectively represent more than 560,000 physicians and medical students. Among other things, the statement says:
Before and throughout the AHCA debate, our organizations continually offered constructive ideas on achieving agreement on legislation consistent with our shared principles. Regrettably, the AHCA, as amended and passed by the House, violates our principles, dramatically increasing costs for older individuals, resulting in millions of people losing their health care coverage, and returning to a system that allows insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
We also oppose the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts, including capping and cutting the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid, sunsetting federal funding for Medicaid expansion, and eliminating Medicaid coverage of essential benefits.”
In addition to encouraging the Senate to not take up the AHCA “in any form,” the statement encourages the Senate to take the following actions:
- Work to achieve real bipartisan solutions to ensure that coverage remains affordable.
- Stabilize the individual market.
- Ensure long-term, adequate funding for the CHIP program.
- Make primary, preventive, and mental health and substance use services more readily available to all Americans.
- Lower the costs of pharmaceutical treatments.
- Reform medical liability laws.
- Reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that add costs and take time away from patients.
The statement concludes: “We stand ready to assist the Congress on achieving these and other necessary improvements.”
How does the health care bill affect mental health?
- The AHCA will strip over $800 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years, forcing states to slash mental health services.
- 24 million Americans will lose insurance for mental health care.
- Allows states to:
- Drop coverage of mental health and substance use (one of the essential health benefits) from insurance plans
- Charge people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety.
- Create high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage