Repealing the ACA could lead to less coverage for medicines and therapy—and possibly, a return of behavioral health disorders as ‘pre-existing conditions.’
By Francie Diep
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, what’s going to happen to the tens of millions of Americans who need treatment for addiction, depression, and various other mental health conditions?
It’s a pertinent question because Obamacare had lots of provisions designed to make sure the mentally ill receive proper coverage. In 2016, Health and Human Services provided $94 million in grants through the Affordable Care Act for free clinics to screen and treat their patients for substance use disorders. With the potential for an ACA repeal, the long-term survival of those programs is now in question.
“For mental health and substance use disorder professionals, people working in the field, I think it’s a huge concern,” says David Mineta, an Obama administration-era deputy director at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Mineta is now CEO of a mental health-care services nonprofit in California.)