Date: July 14, 2017
To: SPTA and Division Federal Advocacy Coordinators, and APAGS Coordinators
From: Doug Walter, J.D., Associate Executive Director for Government Relations,
American Psychological Association Practice Organization
Cc: Katherine Nordal, Ph.D., Executive Director for Professional Practice
SPTA Directors of Professional Affairs
SPTA Executive Directors
APAPO Board of Directors
Re: Senate unveils new version of ACA “repeal and replace” bill
The Senate unveiled a new version of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (BCRA). A planned procedural vote is expected as early as next Tuesday the 18th, with a final vote later next week. Please follow the link, here, to see the APA release on the BCRA.
This new version is worse than that pulled from the Senate floor on June 23rd. This bill still drastically cuts Medicaid, which would be devastating for the mental health community. Medicaid currently covers 25% of all financing for mental health services and 21% for substance use services.
An additional provision has been added to allow insurers to offer “bare-bones” plans, that would not include mental, behavioral and substance use benefits in the individual market. If enacted, this provision would undermine the market, since healthier individuals would likely buy these plans, while those who need comprehensive coverage would face higher—perhaps far higher—coverage costs.
While the bill does add $45 billion in grant funding for states to combat the opioid crisis, this sum is woefully inadequate and is no substitute for reliable Medicaid coverage.
Thank you for responding to our earlier calls to action. Your advocacy work on this bill has put tremendous pressure on Senators to vote “No”. But now we ask that you contact your Senators again,click here, and ask them to oppose this new, and worse, version of the BCRA.
Any legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act must increase, not decrease, the number of Americans with insurance coverage for mental health, substance use, and behavioral health services.
For more information, contact APA Practice Organization Government Relations Office at Pracgovt@apa.org or (202) 336-5889. Visit APA Practice Organization on-line at APAPracticeCentral.org/Advocac