Colvin’s pro­tec­tion of ACA im­por­tant

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

FROM: DR. BON­NIE FISHER EARLEVILLE

As a li­censed clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, I want to alert ev­ery­one to the im­por­tance of Jesse Colvin’s ex­cel­lent pro­pos­als on health care and their rel­e­vance to all of us.

Un­like U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, Jesse Colvin sup­ports pre­serv­ing and strength­en­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act, (the ACA, some­times called Oba­macare.) When the ACA passed in 2010, it re­quired in­surance com­pa­nies to cover men­tal health along with ad­dic­tions prob­lems, giv­ing mil­lions of peo­ple ac­cess to health care ser­vices they had been pre­vi­ously de­nied be­cause they had pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

Since 2010, Repub­li­cans in­clud­ing Rep. Har­ris, have voted over 60 times to re­peal or re­place the Af­ford­able Care Act, putting men­tal health cov­er­age for mil­lions of peo­ple at risk. Had those re­peal/ re­place pro­pos­als suc­ceeded, in­surance com­pa­nies could have re­sumed charg­ing those with men­tal health is­sues pre­mi­ums so high they would be un­af­ford­able or deny­ing cov­er­age en­tirely. With our coun­try in the midst of a na­tion­wide opi­oid cri­sis, tak­ing men­tal health care away from peo­ple who des­per­ately need it is cruel and counter pro­duc­tive.

Colvin wants to ex­pand ac­cess to com­pre­hen­sive, af­ford­able health in­surance for any health is­sue in­clud­ing men­tal ill­nesses. He has pro­posed al­low­ing any in­di­vid­ual or em­ployer to en­roll in Medi­care as one op­tion for choos­ing a health care in­surance plan. Such an op­tion is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for those who have or may ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal health prob­lems. As a four-de­ploy­ment vet­eran who served an Afghanistan, Jesse knows that our re­turn­ing veter­ans are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to PSTD and other se­ri­ous prob­lems.

Al­most 20 per­cent of us will ex­pe­ri­ence a se­ri­ous and treat­able men­tal dis­or­der each year. All of us must have ac­cess to early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment. Men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als of­fer many ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tions. Such in­ter­ven­tions help en­sure more timely re­cov­ery, be­fore se­ri­ous dis­rup­tion to the in­di­vid­ual, their fam­i­lies and the en­tire com­mu­ni­ties might oc­cur.

Be­cause men­tal health con­cerns af­fect so many of us, it is also im­per­a­tive that in­surance cov­er­age for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions be pre­served, along with par­ity with other med­i­cal di­ag­noses. Jesse Colvin’s plan to pre­serv­ing and ex­pand­ing the ACA will solve this prob­lem.

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