Just a few months ago, you helped defeat health reform
efforts that would have left millions without insurance and cut insurance
protections. But Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) just
introduced a new bill that is
even more dangerous for people with mental illness.
With any health reform bill, NAMI asks the simple question, “Will Americans have more mental health coverage
and better care?” With the Graham-Cassidy bill, the answer is unequivocally
While it is being promoted as offering more flexibility, their
bill will make it harder for people to get psychiatric medications, case
management, and mental health services—and other people with mental illness
will lose their coverage entirely.
The Graham-Cassidy bill:
- Allows states to drop the
requirement to cover mental health care. Today, Exchange plans are
required to cover essential health benefits, which include treatment for mental
health and substance use conditions. Under
this bill, each state will have the freedom to drop or change these
requirements, putting mental health benefits at risk.
- Shifts Medicaid funding to a “per
capita cap” system. Shifting to per
capita cap funding (a fixed amount of funding per person) may sound reasonable,
but would not keep up with growth in costs and needs. This would result in
states being forced to cut Medicaid services and eligibility, which would harm
children and adults with mental illness.
- Effectively ends Medicaid
expansion. One in three people covered by Medicaid expansion plans lives
with a mental health or substance use condition. Under this bill, Medicaid
expansion would be converted to a smaller, temporary block grant that states
could use for health coverage or any other health purpose, with no guarantee of
mental health coverage.
- Reduces help to purchase health insurance.
Block grants would provide a fixed amount of
temporary federal funding to replace insurance subsidies, severely cutting federal
help for people to buy insurance. This will leave many people unable to afford
the coverage they need for mental health treatment.
Tell your members of Congress vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy Bill.