Napolitano Denounces Trump-Republican Bill to Repeal the ACA
(Washington, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte), denounced President Donald Trump’s and House Republicans’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“One of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest successes was increasing mental health services for all people through mental health parity protections and Medicaid expansion,” Napolitano said in a floor statement. “The GOP ‘Pay More For Less’ bill cuts taxes on the wealthy at the expense of those who can least afford to pay for their health coverage, like low-income families. 1 in 5 of Medicaid’s 70 million beneficiaries have a mental health or substance use disorder, and reports show more services are needed, especially for children. The bill would hurt those people by eliminating Medicaid expansion and gutting mental health services for this group, including the nearly 60,000 now covered in my district. I strongly oppose this repeal effort and urge our Republican colleagues to work with us to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, so more Americans have access to lifesaving care.”
After listening to input from mental health professionals and advocates at her local Mental Health Consortium meetings, Napolitano inserted provisions in the ACA to end discriminatory practices by insurance companies and make mental health an essential part of basic coverage, within the Essential Benefits Package. Now mental health and substance use disorders are covered for all recipients of health coverage under the ACA, equal to other medical illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure.
The Republicans’ repeal bill, which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday, would retain the Essential Benefits Package for Americans receiving coverage through a private insurer but would phase out these protections for those in 31 states who have gained coverage through the successful Medicaid expansion of the ACA, most notably, residents of Los Angeles County, home to the highest number of people who have benefitted from this expansion in the country. This change would take effect after 2020, when a new maximum reimbursement cap per enrollee would be implemented. If a population exceeds the caps the state will be forced to find the extra money. Medicaid is the country’s largest payer of mental health services.
Napolitano is the founder and Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, where she promotes access to mental health for children and adolescents, improved mental health resources for veterans and seniors, and increased mental health coverage for all.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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