ACA Proposed Revisions May Put Millions With Mental Illness and Addiction at Risk

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released an assessment of the proposed American Health Care Act’s impact on health coverage in the US on March 13, 2017.  You can read the entire CBO report and analysis here: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52486.

While the CBO and JCT estimate the new law would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period, the proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is projected to leave 14 million fewer Americans without health insurance after its first year, a number that rises to 24 million after 10 years (1 in 5 Americans):

  • 14 Million more People will be Uninsured by 2018
  • 21 Million more People will be Uninsured by 2020
  • 24 Million More People will be Uninsured by 2026

According to CBO, a 64-year-old with earnings equal to 175 percent of the federal poverty line would see their net annual premium costs after tax credits rise from $1,700 per year to $14,600 per year, a 759% increase.

The law’s impact on some of the country’s most vulnerable individuals: Medicaid recipients with mental illness, addiction problems, and even dementia, could be staggering. Beginning in 2020, the proposed plan would eliminate the current requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental-health and addiction services in states that expanded it. Instead, the Trump administration will allow each state to decide whether to include those benefits in Medicaid plans. In order to keep their Medicaid costs down, many states would rollback such coverage, including opiate addiction treatment.

35% of low-income Medicaid beneficiaries, and 13% of non-elderly adult beneficiaries have a chronic mental illness. Spending by Medicaid made up 25% of total mental health spending and 21% of spending on treatment for substance abuse disorders in 2014, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Realizing that the phasing out of Medicaid expansion would  hurt Americans with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders, four Republican senators wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote, “We believe Medicaid needs to be reformed, but reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest individuals.”

CONNECT is committed to closely following this proposed legislation. Please check our Facebook page and website often for updates.

Share
2017-03-14T12:05:36+00:00

Leave A Comment