KENNEDY: GOP BILL IS 'LARGEST ASSAULT ON MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN RECENT HISTORY'
Washington, DC – On the eve of a vote on the Republican health care repeal bill, Congressman Joe Kennedy III took to the House floor to highlight the devastating impact their legislation would have on those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.
Over the next several years, the Republican bill would phase out the expansion of Medicaid -- the largest single payer of mental health care in the United States. The bill also ends guaranteed behavioral health coverage for the millions of Americans currently covered by Medicaid expansion and opens the door to capping the amount of money states receive to help pay for mental health care.
"The GOP repeal bill will remove guaranteed behavioral health coverage for the 12 million Americans covered under Medicaid expansion," said Kennedy. "It will abandon those suffering from substance use disorders to fend for themselves in a country ravaged by opioid addiction. It will allow work requirements for care, forcing countless people to choose between getting the treatment they need and keeping their job. It will help insurers further skirt laws that require them to treat mental health patients fairly. It will send out-of-pocket costs soaring for the most vulnerable among us."
Kennedy continued: "Mr. Speaker, one in five Americans today suffer from mental illness. These brave men and women and the families that love them deserve more than the cheap luck of a broken system. They deserve more than the empty rhetoric of a bill that “might” cover or “could” cover or “maybe” cover the care they need. They deserve an ironclad promise that their government that has their back."
Currently serving his third term, Congressman Kennedy is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee which shares jurisdiction over health care reform. He has been an outspoken opponent of repeal efforts, with a particular focus on mental health care and Medicaid.
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