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Mental Health Organizations Speak Out Against GOP Health Bill

U.S. House of Representatives

More than 400 mental health and addiction treatment organizations across the country have spoken up against the most recent version of the revised Republican healthcare bill, which cleared the U.S. House Thursday afternoon.  

In a letter addressed to House leaders Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan, the 435 co-signers, which range from advocacy and consumers groups to professional healthcare organizations, express concerns the GOP’s American Health Care Act would endanger coverage for some of the nation’s most vulnerable groups—people with mental health disorders, limited financial resources and addiction issues.

The authors of the letter specifically reference the GOP bill's gradual phasing out of Medicaid expansion dollars to states and its recently-added provision that allows states to apply for waivers to opt out of covering certain essential health benefits—including mental health coverage—in private plans.

“Medicaid funding for mental health and substance use disorder treatment service for low-income populations must be predictable, sustainable and integrated with financing mechanisms for general medical care,” the authors write.

After the bill passed Thursday, several other high-profile national organizations, including the AARP, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, expressed opposition to the legislation and concern about its potential to remove coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.