Today the second round of the fight to replace the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act goes to the opposition. This was thanks to an unusual alignment of conservatives who thought the bill did not go far enough with Democratic representatives who thought it would severely damage the US healthcare system. Those of us who care about access to health for all, especially the poor, the disabled, and those suffering from psychiatric conditions or substance use disorders were relieved. We know there may be future rounds, and surely the battle for comprehensive, affordable health care is not over.
In Massachusetts our Representatives and Senators are ready to vote to against the repeal. Because of this, our political advocacy has been deemed irrelevant by some; but that is not true.
We can and must continue to support our elected officials by communicating our support for the ACA. We should follow the calls from national advocacy organizations in attempts to educate colleagues, friends, and advocates in republican controlled states about the likely damage to our system of care, and to engage with their republican officials in voting against repeal and replacement.
We support the statement of Linda Rosenberg, President of the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare in her call to action. We are in this for the long haul, and our goal is quality care for those who need it most.
Linda’s statement follows:
“The House of Representatives pulled the American Health Care Act from consideration. This is a huge victory for advocates who raised their voices in opposition, through letters and calls and visits. National Council members stepped up to the plate to protect the people they serve, and for that we say thank you and well done!
We don’t yet know what the Administration or Congress’ next steps will be. But we do know what the National Council will do next. We are in this for the long haul. Our true north is quality care for the people who need it most. The National Council remains deeply opposed to any proposals that would hurt the people you serve by stripping needed coverage from millions of Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions. We will be vigilant and keep you informed so you can do the same.
Mental illnesses and addictions are not partisan issues. They are human issues. Thankfully, today 24 million people who would have been left in the cold are still able to get the care they need. Thank you for standing with us. Let’s keep up the fight to #unite4BH.”
President and CEO
National Council for Behavioral Health