Statement on Implications for Behavioral Health of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) By Mark Covall, President and CEO, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been part of a growing national momentum to expand coverage for, access to, and quality of treatment for mental health and addictive disorders. Today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the ACA, thereby continuing progress that will bring more Americans much-needed coverage for mental health and addictive disorders.
The Supreme Court decision continues the positive national movement towards ensuring that mental health and addiction are on par with other medical conditions. Policymakers, businesses, and insurers all agree that we need to deal with mind and body as one. The passage in 2008 of the mental health and addiction parity law (the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act) set a strong framework for the goal of fairness and equity in health insurance coverage of behavioral and medical conditions.
By upholding the ACA and its provisions that require individuals to have health insurance and that create health insurance exchanges, the Supreme Court decision means that millions of Americans who now do not have insurance (or who have inadequate insurance) will be able to purchase insurance. The ACA requires - for the first time in federal law - that the essential benefit package include "mental health and substance abuse" as one of 10 required coverage categories. It also extends the federal mental health parity law to small businesses and individuals inside and outside of the health exchanges.
The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) and its member organizations are committed to working with Congress, the administration, and all the key stakeholders to continue to strengthen our healthcare system and to ensure that all Americans have equitable mental health and addiction coverage.
Founded in 1933, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) advocates for behavioral health and represents provider systems that are committed to the delivery of responsive, accountable, and clinically effective prevention, treatment, and care for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults with mental and substance use disorders. Its members are behavioral healthcare provider organizations that own or manage more than 700 specialty psychiatric hospitals, general hospital psychiatric and addiction treatment units and behavioral healthcare divisions, residential treatment facilities, youth services organizations, and extensive outpatient networks.
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SOURCE National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems