News Article Details

Trumpcare shrinks coverage for mental health, substance abuse (opinion)

The St. Clair Times - 3/16/2017

PELL CITY -- I am truly baffled by the Trumpcare plan, now in the works. All ACA (Obamacare) Marketplace plans cover mental health and substance abuse services as essential health benefits. Advocates for drug addiction services say the House Republican healthcare (Trumpcare) proposal could dramatically shrink access to those types of treatments at a time when the country remains in the grip of an opioid epidemic. This is especially overwhelming for rural areas and small towns.

The GOP's plan also removes coverage for mental-health issues. "Phasing out Medicaid coverage without a viable alternative is counterproductive and unnecessarily puts at risk our ability to treat the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and working poor who now have access to a stable source of care," Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday. Kasich is one of six GOP governors in expansion states whose seats will be contested in 2018.

Medicaid enrollees are among those who most need access to treatment. Economic hardship makes people more vulnerable to mental illness (and vice versa - without treatment, it's harder for people to find or keep work). About 29 percent of people enrolled in Medicaid expansion alone need mental-health or substance-abuse treatment.

Then consider that our legislators are doing all in their power, thanks to the NRA, to put guns in the hands of every person, sane or not. It has already been established that the majority of horrific mass killings in our country were committed by people with real mental illnesses. So we are going to turn our backs on providing healthcare for those with mental illness - to the added exclusion of any and all who might be the next victims of random violence by a mentally disturbed individual?

This is insanity!

Karen Barwick

Pell City


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