Let’s get a little more specific, shall we? From the Pacific Standard…
One of Congress’ rare bipartisan victories under the Obama administration was the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill hastily passed last December that, among other provisions, intended to allocate $6.8 million to mental-health services and expand access to services on both a federal and state level. Despite the bill’s financial pittance, as well as mounting complaints that other provisions within the bill adversely affect Medicare while aiding pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines, the 21st Century Cures Act was hailed as a symbolic, yet necessary, victory for a divided Congress. The message was clear: mental health matters.
But now, as the Trump administration’s contentious health-care bill comes to a vote on the House floor later today, Congress finds itself more divided than ever — even within the Republican Party itself. With less care at higher costs, constituents of all political leanings are worried about what a change could mean for their coverage: a group that includes the millions of people who rely on Obamacare for their mental-health treatment. Roughly 42.5 million Americans deal with mental illness each year; about one out of five adults. What would this change mean for them?
Unfortunately, it would me horror for us…
As part of its rewrite of Medicaid, the Republican health-care plan removes the mandate for mental-health and substance abuse coverage. Policy holders are scrambling to have a back-up for when the ACA ceases to provide them with health care. While this is a terrifying situation for anyone who has to ponder a future without health insurance coverage, it’s causing particular panic among those dealing with mental illness. People with mental-health issues often find themselves in a uniquely difficult position in regards to health-care concerns; that’s because, by and large, mental illness doesn’t operate the way many other diseases do.
“The nature of being mentally ill makes accessing services more difficult than seeking treatment for a physical ailment,” Venable says. “Someone struggling with a mood disorder would have a harder time feeling organized and motivated enough to call a clinic to make an appointment. The more road blocks, the more difficult accessing those services becomes.” According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 60 million Americans received mental-health care in 2016 thanks to the increased access brought about by the ACA. While certain areas still struggled to achieve coverage for patients, it was a significant step in the right direction.
Accessing mental health care is already a pain in the fucking ass. Now they want to make it worse.
“[The ACA] getting repealed may be a death sentence for me,” says Jessica (not her real name), who relies on the ACA Medicaid expansion for her health-care needs. “I’m job hunting but having trouble finding anything that offers insurance or pays enough for me to be able to afford alternative insurance coverage. I am applying to graduate programs and studying for the GRE to prepare for not having health care. The health care offered in graduate programs may not be great, but it’s something.”
Jesus. Going to school just to get fucking health care?
The loss of the ACA is leaving a gigantic void in its wake. It will be felt by anyone who has turned to the ACA for health insurance, whether for a medical emergency or a chronic condition. Without the ACA to turn to, the future looks uncertain for those struggling with mental illness — and that uncertainty may linger for a very long time.
I don’t do very well already. I still deal with anxiety and depression, I have symptoms of ADHD and OCD, and I have yet to be tested for it, but there’s a chance that I may be on the autism spectrum, and the tests are already expensive with my health insurance. I use Lexapro (well… the generic equivalent) right now, and I need it. But the GOP is happy to see me waste away with no help.
They can all go fuck themselves sideways into the ocean with a cactus.