Affordable Care Act and Mental Health

“The decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a tremendous victory for the American public, including millions of individuals living with mental health and substance use conditions.”

Dr. David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America, released the above statement regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. He also discusses some other benefits of the act that should be completely in place by 2014.

To summarize, those with OCD and other mental health issues will not have to wait the average of ten years (often longer with OCD) for proper diagnosis and treatment because they don’t have health insurance. Half of those with mental illness experience symptoms by the age of fourteen, which means many do not receive treatment until age twenty-four. These delays in treatment have contributed to greater suffering and worsening of symptoms among those with mental illness, as well as an increased cost to our society. Another benefit of the Affordable Care Act is its guaranteed coverage of those with pre-existing conditions. Now those who need health care the most will have access to it. Also, this new law provides additional access to preventive mental health care, such as screening for depression and mental health awareness programs.

This is positive news for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health conditions. I urge everyone to learn what they can about the Affordable Care Act and how it can be used to our advantage. Because states have some leeway as to how they enact the law, there will be lots to figure out. But the major steps have been taken to improve the lives of fifty-four million uninsured Americans.

Since becoming an advocate for OCD awareness, I have connected with families who know what the treatment is for OCD, want help, but have not been able to afford it. It is heartbreaking. Hopefully this scenario will soon be a thing of the past.

Dr. Shern ends his press release by saying:

“The law is providing Americans security, peace of mind and control over their health care. Now that the Court has spoken, it is time to end efforts to dismantle or repeal it which will not serve the public interest. It is time to stand up for the health and well-being of children, families and seniors and serve their interests.”

I agree.

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8 Responses to Affordable Care Act and Mental Health

  1. I so agree and I so worry that with out some efforts to control profiting by other people’s misery, we will as a nation become bankrupt. We need some basic changes in managing the economy, which has been proved to be difficult. Those who have want to keep and that is human nature, those who don’t have want to have. The recent discussions about can a Woman Have it All annoyed me. We can if we have the right definition of all and if our core needs are provided for. “Enough is a feast” but the sellers don’t think so. Signing off for Shabbat.

  2. Brooke says:

    one of my favorite aspects of the Act is that dependents can stay on health care until the age of 26. Which is great for me! I’m 22 and about to enter a PhD program..although I have a tuition waiver and have a stipend I can’t afford my medication without my parents insurance. Along with my OCD medications I have an extreme Vitamin B12 deficiency in which i must use a medicine that costs over 200 dollars a month! Plus to diagnose my mild narcolepsy the sleep test was 15,000 dollars without insurance! Thankfully though I can stay under my parents insurance until I can begin to afford the medications on my own.

    • ocdtalk says:

      I’m glad that aspect of the law has worked well for you, Brooke. It has been beneficial for my family as well. It’s scary to think of the situation you’d be in without being able to stay on your parent’s insurance. Good luck with your PhD program!!

  3. Tina Barbour says:

    I agree. I was so heartened by the SC’s decision. One of the biggest components for me is that pre-existing conditions will no longer be used against people.

    I have been fortunate to have health insurance, but when I was first diagnosed with OCD and depression, I didn’t have any insurance, and it was four years before I had any. Without help from my parents, I would not have been able to afford the medication I took.

  4. ocdtalk says:

    I agree with you, Tina. I never could even begin to understand that whole pre-existing condition clause….insurance companies didn’t have to provide you health insurance if you were already “sick”? How can anybody justify not providiing insurance to those who need it most?

  5. 71 & Sunny says:

    I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn’t have gotten good treatment. It has literally been life changing. I know that lots of times these “Acts” look good on paper, but in real life they don’t work in a way that is practical and helpful. I sure hope this “Act” does really help those with mental illness get the treatment they so desperately need.

  6. ocdtalk says:

    I sure hope so too, Sunny. I know it has already helped millions of people by allowing young people to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. Hopefully everything else it promises to do will also really happen.

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