Published Date: 2012-07-02
Many people are struggling to determine if the Affordable Care Act (aka, ) is a good thing or a bad thing for them. This law has far-reaching implications for every American. This issue is too important to simply parrot pundits. Instead, look to organizations and service providers that you trust to see what they are saying about the recent ruling.
Many mental health advocates praise the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) both issued statements in response to ruling.
Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America states: "The law represents an enormous step forward in our efforts to expand access to care for individuals with mental health or substance use conditions and in our advocacy for prevention of these conditions…Half of all people with a mental health diagnosis first experience it by age 14, but will not receive treatment until age 24…Owing in part to these delays in treatment, mental health and substance use conditions account for a greater burden of disease than any other illness class and constitute an important group of pre-existing conditions. The law's guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will address these barriers, lower costs, end discrimination, and dramatically improve health outcomes." Read the full statement here.
Shern praises the law’s inclusion of mental health and substance abuse services on the list of essential benefits that are to be covered in new plans offered beginning in 2014 and identifies the positive impact already seen by the passage of the law:
A statement released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness reads, in part:
No system is perfect, but it has been clear for some time that many Americans support specific provisions of the law—such as that requiring insurance coverage of pre-existing medical conditions. The decision protects that provision, along with others that are important to people living with mental illness. The law is a foundation. Let's keep building on it.
Both Mental Health America and NAMI indicate the importance of urging your state representatives to participate in the Medicaid expansion, allowing newly eligible Americans to receive mental health and substance use services in parity with other types of benefits.