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Mental Health and Addictions Providers Condemn Changes to Healthcare System in Paul Ryan’s Obamacare 2.0

Providers of mental health and substance abuse treatment whose services have been considered “essential benefits” under Obamacare say the healthcare plan released by House Republicans will cause those with psychological problems to lose access to care.

“The proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act could be catastrophic for those in need of mental health or addiction services,” Constance Scharff, PhD, said in a press release statement. “These proposed changes are a step in the wrong direction.”

Scharff, a senior addiction research fellow and director of addiction research for Cliffside Malibu treatment centers, is a regular columnist for Psychology Today, and is scheduled to speak for UNESCO this month about the need for access to mental health and addiction treatment.

According to the press release, the proposals for a tax credit system for individuals to purchase private health insurance, and a move to change Medicaid to a block grant system, “could lead to more addiction-related deaths.”

“Both of these actions will limit access to mental health and addiction treatment resources for those who need it most,” the release states.

The American Psychological Association (APA) and its sister practice organization have urged Congress not to repeal Obamacare unless its replacement plan ensures “all Americans have insurance coverage with access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance use services.”

The organizations are calling for “universal access to essential heath-care services that include mental health and substance use disorder services at parity with physical health services.”

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