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.
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.