Affordable Care Act: Supreme Court Decision Benefits People with Mental Illness
Posted: July 02, 2012
It is good news for people with mental illness and their families that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional. The benefits would have been greater if the court had not made expansion of Medicaid eligibility optional for the states. But even if some states choose not to provide Medicaid for more people who cannot afford health care or health insurance, millions of people without coverage or with inadequate coverage -- including people with mental illness -- will now be able to get the health and mental health care they need.
The ACA benefits people with mental illness in six major ways:
It provides improved coverage of physical health care, which is extremely important to people with mental and/or substance use disorders.
The ACA also provides improved coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions. This is a major advance. Just three years ago, new federal laws required "parity" in the coverage of mental and physical health conditions in employer-based health benefit plans and Medicare, but the provisions were limited. The ACA carries these requirements forward and expands them considerably.
The ACA also provides enhanced Medicare coverage of medication, including of psychiatric medications.
The ACA emphasizes the importance of integrating and coordinating the delivery of physical and mental health services and provides incentives to providers to integrate care.
The ACA also emphasizes preventive interventions. For example, it provides Medicare payments for preventive health care and health promotion for the first time.
Finally, the ACA emphasizes services in the home and community instead of in institutions.
Read more on the Huffington Post website. Read the Affordable Care Act.
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