Advocacy Alert: There is No Health without Mental Health

The phrase “There is no health without mental health” has been a rallying cry for a long time for NAMI South Bay and all the NAMI affiliates across the nation. Progress seems to have been made over the last few years to have mental health as an essential benefit and to have mental health parity with much more to be done. Now with the current House legislation and the proposed Senate legislation mental health could be waived as an essential benefit and mental health parity could face a very serious setback.

Further, the proposed caps on Medicaid funding, which is Medi-Cal in California, would mean more people would not get mental health treatment and the availability and quality would be severely impacted. If hundreds of billions of dollars are cut from Medicaid, it will be harder for people on Medicaid to get psychiatric medications, case management and mental health services. And some people will lose their eligibility for Medicaid. This will push people with mental illness into costly emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.

The Senate should protect Medicaid and SAY NO to any health reform bill that:

  • Caps or limits Medicaid;
  • Ends Medicaid expansion;
  • Takes away protections for people with mental health conditions; or
  • Leaves fewer Americans with coverage for mental illness.

Please contact our Senators Feinstein and Harris to let them know that we cannot accept these reductions in mental health treatment funding and parity. They have already taken positions supporting our efforts but we need to let them know the depth of our concerns. Further, if you have families, friends or colleagues in other states please share your story and concerns with them so they can contact their senators.

CALL Now!

EMAIL Now!

Please see below for more information for you to consider.

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

For a comparison of the legistation with the current Affordable Care Act please see this link.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Major Medical Organizations Call upon the Senate to “Do the Right Thing”

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

 

Advocacy Alert

Mental health coverage
is at risk

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

Call Now

Email Now

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

NAMI Coverage4Care Survey

Survey Dollarphotoclub_53229363Do you or a loved one struggle to get the mental health care you need? Do you have insurance that covers the costs of your care? Take NAMI’s Coverage4Care survey and tell us about your experiences.

The survey takes about 20 minutes, and your answers will help NAMI advocate for better care and coverage for you and your loved ones. It doesn’t matter what type insurance you have, or whether you have insurance at all. NAMI wants to hear from you. Spread the word. Share this survey with your family and friends. Post links to your Facebook and Twitter.

The survey closes on Monday, December 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. Pacific Time. For more information see www.nami.org. Thank you for your help.

Important NAMI Survey: How is Your Health Insurance Treating You?

From NAMI Blog. By Everly Groves, NAMI Policy Intern and Sita Diehl, NAMI Director of State Policy and Advocacy. Dramatic changes now taking place in our nation’s health care system should mean that people living with mental illnesses will have better access to mental health services. But will they? NAMI created a brief online Coverage for Care Survey to answer this very question. We need your help to find out how recent changes in federal law affect you and your family.

Over 11 million people with mental illness were uninsured as of 2010. Most are now eligible for mental health and substance use care because of changes to health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires Medicaid expansion and individual and small group private health plans to cover mental health and substance use services as one of the 10 Essential Health Benefits. This change will mean that millions of people will be getting access to private health coverage or Medicaid for the first time.

Even more changes to mental health and substance use coverage came July 1. Provisions to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 were put in place to ensure parity for mental health and substance use care. But what exactly is parity? Parity ensures that all plans cover mental health and substance use treatment on par with other types of care. That means fair and equal terms for what types of services are covered, the procedures necessary to get care and how much you pay out of pocket.

Coverage for Care Survey
Because these changes are so important, NAMI wants to understand how the ACA and the new parity rules affect you and your ability to get the care you need. We created the Coverage for Care Survey to learn from you.

We want to hear from everyone in need of mental health or substance use care. So if you or your family member uses these services, complete this survey! It doesn’t matter if you have private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, VA health benefits, student health, any other type of coverage or don’t have coverage at all.

Take this survey on behalf of you or your loved ones in need of mental health and/or substance use care. Spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers, and colleagues. It should only take 15-20 minutes. Post the link on your Facebook or Twitter! The more responses we get, the stronger our findings will be.

The deadline to complete the survey is 12 p.m. EST on Sept. 30, 2014.

DMHC Provider Complaint Commitment

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has increased staffing for and reorganized its Provider Complaint Division, including an all new web interface for this purpose.

DMHC has vowed to demonstrate a renewed commitment to be more provider and consumer friendly and more aggressive in following up on complaints that you may have with plans.

http://www.dmhc.ca.gov/fileacomplaint/providercomplaint/submitaprovidercomplaint.aspx

Take them up on their commitment if you need assistance.

Also, the DMHC Help Center is designed for patients to use with their complaints. That telephone number is 1-888-466-2219.

Regulators can’t regulate unless you complain, give them something to work with!!

The Obama Administration Increases Access to Mental Health Services

Institute of Mental Health 3, Nov 06

Institute of Mental Health 3, Nov 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Less than half of the children and adults with a diagnosis of a mental health problem receive the treatment they need. The Obama administration has made it a priority to do everything possible to make it easier to access mental health services. Over the past several years, the administration has taken steps to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness, and to ensure that millions of American’s have access to health insurance that covers mental health and substance abuse disorder services at parity with medical and surgical benefits.

Also, the President has proposed an additional $130 million in his FY 2014 Budget for efforts such as helping to ensure teachers and other adults who work with youth can recognize signs of mental illness and connect children and their families to the treatment they need.

The Administration hosted the National Conference on Mental Health to discuss ways to reduce stigma.

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