Could Local Mental Illness Patients See Less Health Care Opportunities

With the recent closure of the Duncan Heights facility in Hancock County and a move to create a more livable setting for mental illness patients, there has also been a concern regarding proper coverage for the patients should there be drastic changes to the Affordable Health Care Act.

Peggy Hubbert, the executive director of the National Association for Mental Illness in Iowa, explains that because of policies and safeguards included in the ACA millions of Americans struggling with mental illnesses gained coverage over the past eight years. And she says many are low-income and have no other options.

Hubbert notes that the area has a shortage of mental-health providers and accessibility to services would become even more difficult if mental-health care is not required for insurance plans. Some experts say a disruption in services can be damaging to the functioning of individuals with mental-health concerns.

Some leaders have discussed keeping popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act including coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. But Hubbert says no one has yet to explain how the health-care law would continue to work without those measures. 

And, she adds people are panicked about what the future would hold if the ACA is scrapped.

According to the association, about one in five Americans has a mental-health condition, but only half receive treatment.

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