As conversations about the future of health care policy under a new administration ramp up, the American Psychological Association and the Practice Organization are urging President-elect Donald Trump and members of Congress to delay repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if they do not plan to simultaneously replace it with equal or better legislation that provides all Americans with access to mental health care.
In two letters sent in December to Trump (PDF, 91KB), and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (PDF, 71KB), the APA and the Practice Organization recommended ways to ensure health care law adequately serves potential and existing recipients of mental health services. The organizations also stressed the importance of protecting policies that allow psychologists and other mental health providers to effectively offer those services.
In the coming weeks, Congress is expected to take up legislation that would repeal the ACA. The Practice Organization encourages all psychologists to contact their Congressional representative to state the importance of only repealing the ACA if Congress intends to immediately replace it with a suitable alternative.
The ACA extended health care coverage to 22 million uninsured people in the U.S. The law also put in place several reforms addressing the health insurance market, parity between mental health and physical health services, and the integration of psychology and behavioral health into primary care.
In the letters, APA and the Practice Organization reinforced that health care policies and reforms should:
- Establish and enforce health insurance practice protections for providers and health care consumers that prevent insurance plans from denying, delaying or discouraging the use of mental health services.
- Require that health insurance plans offer universal access to mental health services at parity with physical health services.
- Invest in training more providers, including psychologists, to work in integrated health care settings.
- Expand the mental health workforce and train more providers in developing and applying evidence-based, culturally competent behavioral and psychosocial assessments and interventions.
Contact the Government Relations staff for more information about the ACA and how to reach your member of Congress.