Senate en The Fatal Flaw in Graham-Cassidy, and What Comes Next <span>The Fatal Flaw in Graham-Cassidy, and What Comes Next</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/27/2017 - 11:55</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By Paul Gionfriddo, MHA National President and CEO</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/Flag_0.jpg" style="width: 100%;"></p> <p>Graham-Cassidy died a political death this week, but it isn’t the last we’ll hear of Affordable Care Act reform in this Congress.</p> <p>Politics – and the reality that <a href="" target="_blank">no more than 20 percent of the public supported the proposal</a> (which still hadn’t actually been exposed to the light of day) – made the difference.</p> <p>But here’s what should have made the difference:&nbsp;the fatal flaw in the Graham-Cassidy approach was that <strong>it intended to reward with more Medicaid money those states that have done the least to support their own Medicaid-eligible populations in the past.</strong></p> <p>If you think that the promise of more money would have changed that, think again.</p> <p>Most of these states have gotten a higher federal match since the beginning of the Medicaid program, and these extra federal dollars have done nothing to improve health outcomes in those states during the past fifty years.</p> <p>That’s because <strong>you can’t just send money to states and expect them to improve care, any more that you can take money that states have used to improve health care and not expect people to be worse off</strong> (something the Graham-Cassidy also would have done).</p> <p>So, what’s next? We expect Congress to revisit ACA reform during the next few months. They’ve promised as much, and this is a promise I expect that they will keep.</p> <p>They can continue to do this in the worst way possible, without input from experts, without hearings that include advocates and the public, and without drafting bills that can be read and reviewed by members of Congress before they are voted on.</p> <p>Or they can do this in a thoughtful, bipartisan way – <a href="" target="_blank">the same way they did&nbsp;mental health reform in 2016</a>.</p> <p>The most recent proposals that were introduced by the two political parties could not have been further apart.</p> <p>However, they – and the earlier effort by Senators Alexander and Murray – did signal a continued willingness of members of both parties to improve existing laws and address the challenges that have emerged for so many who are affected by them.</p> <p>While we continue to applaud the efforts of members of both parties to improve on the current system of insurance through amendments to, or replacement of, provisions of the Affordable Care Act, we believe that this work – like the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 – <strong>can only be done in a collaborative, deliberative environment in which members work together across the aisle in the full light of day to develop comprehensive reforms with adequate public input</strong>.</p> <p>We believe that the goal of a federal guarantee of universal coverage is still the correct one, but never at the expense of failing to offer and reimburse behavioral health services at parity with other services.</p> <p>Additionally, we favor fostering a spirit of independence and creativity at the state level, but not without protecting against policies that single out people with serious mental illnesses and other chronic diseases and treating them as second-class citizens.</p> <p>Also, we favor promoting innovation and true services integration among service providers and others in the field, without creating needless legal barriers to sharing of information and resources.</p> <p>Furthermore, we favor rewarding this innovation with the kind of financial support that will bring new programs and new strategies – including those that use the talents and skills of people with lived experience in implementing those strategies – for serving people with mental health concerns to scale.</p> <p>Finally, we continue to be the strongest advocates for giving much greater attention to the needs of all our children.</p> <p>For too long, we have ignored mental health conditions as they have emerged in our children, either because we fear the unintended social effects of diagnosing them properly or because we have not been sure how to treat them effectively.</p> <p>We have answers to these concerns today that include integrating health, behavioral health, and educational services for children, because this integration – along with prevention, early identification, and early intervention – is essential to their success in later life.</p> <p>At Mental Health America, we believe that we must stop waiting for crises to occur, and must stop waiting until people are so ill that recovery is more challenging. We must act <a href="" target="_blank">Before Stage 4</a> whenever possible, just as we do with every other chronic disease in America.</p> <p>And our federal policy must embrace this approach.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/repeal" hreflang="en">Repeal</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/obamacare" hreflang="en">Obamacare</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/medicaid" hreflang="en">Medicaid</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/senate" hreflang="en">Senate</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1582&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="AHxw2UK9MYCHCZFv7WkZbq4_q4Mmw0aTpUazkvAAsXQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:55:37 +0000 JCheang 1582 at 9 Things You Should Know (and Share) About the Senate Health Care Bill <span>9 Things You Should Know (and Share) About the Senate Health Care Bill</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/jcheang" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">JCheang</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/28/2017 - 12:48</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p style="text-align: Left;"><em>By Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/wide_capitol.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 300px;" /></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a delay in the vote for&nbsp;the Senate Health Care Bill</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, a delay doesn't mean that we stop advocating. <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjL86L8--DUAhVHMj4KHUzsCLUQFggmMAA&amp;;usg=AFQjCNHeF8ChHvlbTqx4skXH8UN4HWsxPg">The House bill was pulled in March</a> only to <a href="" target="_blank">resurface in May and passed by a narrow margin</a>, so we need you to<strong> keep calling, keep writing, and keep visiting</strong> your senators to make sure they will promise to protect mental health care. They could be taking this up again as early as the <strong>second week in July.</strong></p> <p>Here are 9 things you should know and share about the Senate Health Care Bill, also known as the “<a href="" target="_blank">Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)</a>.” You can share these facts with family and friends, as widely as you can. You can even link to this post on your social media.</p> <ol> <li>The CBO has estimated that insurance premiums for everyone will<strong> increase by 20%</strong> in 2018.</li> <li>The CBO has also concluded that, on average, deductibles for a benchmark plan will<strong> increase by $2,400</strong> per year.</li> <li>Unless individual states act, <strong>no insurance plans will be obligated to cover mental health conditions</strong>, cancer, or any other essential health benefits.</li> <li>In benchmark plans, insurers will be required to cover <strong>only 58%</strong> of the cost of an average individual’s health care. The individual will be responsible for the rest.</li> <li><strong>15 million people</strong> – many of whom have mental health conditions – will be removed from the Medicaid roles.</li> <li>Despite the extension of tax credit subsidies to low income people, <strong>7 million fewer people will have private insurance</strong> – because the CBO concluded that cost of private insurance will be so high that “few low-income people would purchase any plan.”</li> <li><strong>People over the age of 60 will be forced to pay five times what young people pay for the same coverage</strong>, no matter how healthy they are. A 64-year-old with an annual income of $56,800 would have to pay, on average $20,500 for health insurance in 2026.</li> <li><strong>People who lose their health insurance for more than two months will be denied any health care coverage</strong> for six months when they sign up for it again, no matter what the circumstances.</li> <li>Cuts to the Medicaid program will be so deep – <strong>26% lower than under the current law by 2026, and even lower after that</strong> – that this will make it very difficult for safety net community behavioral health centers – which rely heavily on Medicare and Medicaid – to survive.</li> </ol> <p>The most important thing to remember is to share these 9 things with your members of Congress when you see them, write them, or call their offices.</p> <p><strong>Please contact your Senators to let them know they must vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. </strong></p> <ul> <li><b><a href="" target="_blank">Call them</a>! </b>Here's the contact information for all U.S. Senators: <a href="">click here</a>.&nbsp;<br /> You can also dial&nbsp;the Capitol Switchboard at&nbsp;<strong>(202) 224-3121</strong>. When you call, ask to be connected to your senators.&nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="">Post to Twitter</a> using the hashtag: #savementalhealth. </strong>Don't forget to tag your senators!</li> <li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Post to Facebook</a> using the hashtag: #savementalhealth.</strong></li> </ul> <p>If you don't know who your senators are, find out by entering your state or zip code <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>Mental health care must be protected.&nbsp;Changes to the ACA must be made in the context of rational health policy. Alternatives to the Senate and&nbsp;House plans have been offered, and we would all be well served if Congress were to go back to the drawing&nbsp;board and get this right.</p> <p>Too many lives depend on it.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/senate" hreflang="en">Senate</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-policy" hreflang="en">mental health policy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health" hreflang="en">mental health</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1514&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="kQvROVKvXZjG2rN7sGL12Mt8MLuKAVFPo0n-PzZhG1I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:48:30 +0000 JCheang 1514 at