Just a few months ago, we 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 no.
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.
Tell your members of Congress vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy Bill.
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 will force states to cut Medicaid services and eligibility, which will 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 will 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 will 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.