The bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would likely harm many of the people who most need coverage [“GOP health plan would cut mandated drug treatment,” news, March 10], including the 11 million Americans with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level who currently have coverage for mental-health and substance-use disorders provided at parity with coverage for general medical services through Medicaid expansion. The American Health Care Act would remove the requirement that Medicaid benchmark plans provide essential health benefits, which include mental and behavioral health care and substance-use services. This may undo the much-needed protections offered by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a law for which the American Psychological Association advocated for more than a decade.
Other potential victims of this bill include low-income women and sexual and gender minorities, many of whom access health services primarily through family-planning clinics. In its current form, the bill would cut Medicaid funding to those providers.
Any health-care legislation considered by Congress should increase, not decrease, the number of Americans with access to affordable health care. We support efforts to strengthen and improve our nation’s health-care system and extend insurance coverage; thus, we oppose the legislation as introduced because of the adverse impact it would have on millions of Americans, particularly those with mental-health and substance-use disorders.
Antonio E. Puente, Washington
The writer is president of the
American Psychological Association.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the GOP health-care replacement plan would result in 24 million people losing their health insurance [“CBO: Millions fewer insured under GOP plan,” front page, March 14]. Medicaid spending would be cut by $880 billion, and individual subsidies would drop by $232 billion over a decade. The wealthy would benefit from a $600 billion tax cut over the same period because they would not be subject to taxes that support the subsidies. Insurance premiums for the elderly would rise significantly, while younger people would pay less or not purchase health insurance absent any penalty.
House Republicans should visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Mall and heed the 32nd president’s words: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Robert D. Greenberg, Bethesda
The March 13 front-page article “Ryan defends health act revisions” quoted House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) as saying, “People are going to do what they want to do with their lives because we believe in individual freedom in this country.” This position is so naive and irresponsible that it brings to mind the tragedy of the Titanic. Mr. Ryan and his crew are at the helm of the ship christened “individual freedom,” headed straight for a health-insurance iceberg that is looming ever larger. If only there were enough lifeboats.
Matthew Malamud, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Health care should not be about being able to afford insurance; it should be about being able to afford health care. Congress and the White House have been focused on paying insurance premiums. That’s nuts.
The insurance model to provide for health-care costs has destroyed the health-care industry. Until that model is eliminated, there will never be affordable health care in this country. Nobody has the guts to take on the insurance giants; therefore, we are just wasting our time.
Nothing being considered will solve the crisis. We are looking in all the wrong places. It is going to take true leaders to recreate the health-care model we are using. I don’t see anyone in the existing cast of characters with the fortitude to do this.
Richard F. White, Gordonsville, Va.