Advocacy: Annual Day on the Hill
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ALERT!
UP DATE & CALL TO ACTION 5/10/2017
Status of House health care bill

On May 4th, the House voted to pass the amended American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213. Rather than vote on the AHCA, the Senate is planning on writing their own bill over the next month or two. This gives NAMI a window of opportunity to ask Senators to preserve Medicaid and insurance protections for mental health care.

What can you do?

  1. Address questions.

There is confusing information about the AHCA in the media. Feel free to post or forward NAMI’s FAQ of what the AHCA does to mental health coverage.

  1. Contact your Senators.

Email or call your Senate offices now and urge your members to do the same. Use NAMI’s talking points. (See Health Care Reform Talking Points below)

  1. Reach out to community partners.

Connect with influential partners such as

  • Law enforcement (use our attached law enforcement and Medicaid fact sheet)
  • Hospital systems, especially rural hospitals
  • Faith community

to share how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would impact people with mental health and substance use conditions. Encourage them to express their concerns with their U.S. Senate offices.

  1. Hold House members accountable.

Check out how your House members voted on the AHCA. We have messages based on House votes ready for you to send at www.nami.org/advocacy.

Phone calls and emails are needed now! NAMI advocates are urged to contact Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker immediately.
Click these links to

FY 2017 Federal Budget

Last week, Congress voted on an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2017. This includes important increases for mental health research, services and support. For details, read NAMI’s statement.

What does the American Health Care Act do to mental health care?

May 10, 2017

The American Health Care Act, which passed the U.S. House on May 4th, strips over $800 billion from Medicaid in the next 10 years, which will cause vital mental health services in states to be slashed.

The bill effectively ends Medicaid expansion-a lifeline for single adults with mental illness who fall through the cracks. 1 in 3 people covered by Medicaid expansion lives with a mental health or substance use condition.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million will lose insurance for mental health care, pushing people with mental illness to emergency rooms, jails and the streets.

The House bill allows states to let health plans:

  • Drop coverage of mental health and substance use (one of the essential health benefits).
  • Charge people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety.
  • Create high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage.

The bill ensures that people with pre-existing conditions will not be refused coverage by health insurance plans. But, it lets plans charge people with pre-existing conditions much more for coverage-a practice that was outlawed under the Affordable Care Act. Today, if you have a mental illness, you cannot be charged more for health insurance based on your condition. Under the AHCA, you could be charged several times more than other people for the same coverage. This will make coverage unaffordable for many people with mental illness.

Health Care Reform Talking Points

May 10, 2017

(Use these talking points with your U.S. Senators)

  • 1 in 5 Americans have a mental health condition. Tragically, 50% go without any treatment.
  • Americans need more mental health coverage, not less.
  • Congress should improve mental health coverage, not make it worse.
  • The Senate should say:
    • NO to cuts to Medicaid, a critical source of mental health services
    • NO to ending Medicaid expansion-a lifeline for single adults with mental illness who fall through the cracks.
    • NO to allowing plans to drop coverage of mental health and substance use
    • NO to charging people higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like depression or anxiety
    • NO to high-risk pools, which are another way of charging people with mental illness more money and providing less coverage
    • NO to yearly and lifetime limits on mental health coverage
  • Cutting coverage will simply keep people from getting the treatment they need and push people with mental illness into emergency rooms, jails and the streets.
  • Stand up for mental health care and protect Medicaid and insurance safeguards for people with mental illness.
Angela Kimball
NAMI
National Director
Advocacy & Public Policy