I don't normally get involved in politics, but this is important enough to get some action going with awareness. Here are the proposed health care system changes and implications for psychology:
*Instead of MinnesotaCare, the working poor would be given vouchers to buy individual policies in the private market, thereby skirting parity requirements. Such plans would not need to include mental health benefits, however, mental health providers would continue to pay the provider tax to fund the vouchers.
*The individual plans available for purchase would carny high deductibles ($3000-7000) and high co-pays--putting psychotherapy out of reach for most recipients.
*For the poorest Minnesotans, single adults making less than 75% of the poverty guidelines, the MA option would be taken away along with federal support for the program. Instead, there would be a return to the CCDS programs where a certain hospital provided all the care and no outside providers would be allowed.
So what can we do about it? We can write Governor Mark Dayton, firstname.lastname@example.org, and DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, Lucinda.Jesson@state.mn.us.
And to make it easy, I just happen to have a letter you can insert your name into and cut/paste into an email:
My name is _____ and I am contacting you regarding the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill. I am concerned with the impact its current form will have on access to mental health services.
The proposed changes to MA and minnesotacare would effectively keep low income Minnesotans from receiving any mental health care. Health and mental health are inextricably linked and when mental health problems are not addressed, increased costs such as emergency room visits to treat depression, are the result.
Please reconsider this bill and find other ways to reform health care that won't decimate mental health or discriminate against lower income people.
Hopefully, I will have some good news to report later regarding this stupid-who's-brilliant-idea-was-this bill (oops, did I say that out loud?)
(No politicians were harmed during the production of the post, at least not yet...)