“With today’s vote [49-51], psychiatrists and other health providers can thank the Senate that our patients will not lose access to health care,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in a statement.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined all 48 Democratic senators in voting against the bill, titled the Health Care Freedom Act.
If passed, the bill would have increased the number of uninsured by 16 million people by 2026, including 7 million who would have been on Medicaid, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It would have kept on the table for debate proposals to cut Medicaid and eliminate guaranteed coverage of the essential health benefits mandated under the ACA—provisions that APA had fought against.
APA has repeatedly reached out to members of Congress in face-to-face meetings, letters, and grassroots efforts to express concerns that the proposed bills in the House and Senate would take away access to treatment for people with mental health and substance use disorders and reduce the number of people with health insurance.
Levin noted, “There are challenges with our current health care system that Congress can and must address to improve the system overall. We need to stabilize health insurance markets and make sure all Americans have options to purchase comprehensive insurance at affordable rates, as well as continued access to mental health and substance use disorder services.
“The APA stands ready to work with members of Congress on sustainable solutions so that every American has access to quality health care, including mental health care,” he said.
For related information, see “APA Fights Hard Against Republican Health Care Bills.”