Psychology opposes health care reform repeal
by Government Relation Staff
January 27, 2011 — Despite a January 13 opposition letter (PDF, 83 KB) from the American Psychological Association (APA), 34 allies in the Mental Health Liaison Group and additional groups, the House voted 245-189 on January 19 to pass legislation that would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law enacted in 2010.
All 242 Republicans and three Democrats voted for the bill, which is unlikely to advance further due to strong opposition from Senate Democratic leaders and the White House.
Beyond the high-profile vote, the new House leadership is expected to pursue an effort over the next two years to change the law through various means in the legislative process, from eliminating funding necessary to implement certain provisions to seeking policy changes through separate legislation.
As House leaders begin to shift their efforts, the APA Practice Organization will strategically focus its energy and resources and engage legislators on both sides of the aisle to promote psychology’s priorities and protect critical reforms we worked hard to attain, including:
Essential health plan benefits that include mandatory mental health and substance use services;
Mental health and substance use parity requirement for exchange plans;
Within the private health care system, a grant program integrating mental health into primary care with the establishment of interprofessional, interdisciplinary health teams to support primary care practices;
Chronic care coordination fostered through a Medicaid state plan option allowing beneficiaries with one or more chronic conditions including mental health disorders to designate a health home, and permitting the designation of a community mental health center as an eligible health home; and
Extension of the 5 percent Medicare psychotherapy payment restoration through the end of 2011.
As the issue progresses and target grassroots assistance is needed in the months ahead, we will keep membership informed through articles in this e-newsletter and on Practice Central.
For additional information, contact the Government Relations department by e-mail or call 202-336-5889.