Repealing ACA Would Be Catastrophic for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

Here is an excerpt from a report in USA Today that describes what would happen to people with mental health and substance abuse problems.

“In New Hampshire, which has the highest synthetic opioid death rate in the country, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is reminding Trump about some of his campaign promises in her state.

“He pledged to take on this crisis, not immediately make matters much worse,” Shaheen said in an email Friday. “Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement is highly reckless and will come at a high cost for people struggling with substance use disorders.”

Almost any route taken on Capitol Hill leads to an unraveling of addiction and mental health.coverage for these people. Even the partial ACA repeal Congress is considering would eliminate the tax credits that reduce the premiums for about 85% of those who buy insurance on the federal and state exchanges. Most of those who get tax credits pay less than $100 a month for insurance and have very low out-of-pocket costs that make it possible for them to afford coverage.”

Repeal would also destroy the progress under ACA for people with mental illness and substance abuse problems in jails and prison.  Here is an excerpt about Chicago.

” The Cook County jail here is often referred to as the largest mental health facility in the country. Up to 30% of the 9,000 or more inmates in the jail have a diagnosed mental illness, according to jail data. “The ACA has been a game changer for those who are in and out of Cook County Jail,” says Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds, a community-based mental health and addiction services provider in Chicago. He says poor people of color, especially single men, were finally able to keep health coverage once they left the jail. It costs less than $20,000 a year for Threshold’s highest level of community-based mental healthcare with a housing voucher, compared to nearly $70,000 a year to keep the patients in jail. About a third of Threshold’s 15,000 clients became eligible for coverage through the ACA.”

Read the full story here.

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