The political realities of federal healthcare reform is rapidly evolving. Several proposals, including the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would make significant changes to the healthcare system in the United States. Although changes to the healthcare system are needed, AAMFT, along with many other national organizations representing behavioral health providers and consumers, has expressed serious concerns regarding each of these proposals.
On Tuesday, July 25, the U.S. Senate voted to proceed with debate on healthcare reform proposals. While the vote was a procedural vote and not an actual vote on any of the reform proposals, it was a critical vote that passed by a total of 51-50. Vice President Mike Pence served as the tie-breaking vote.
Following the procedural vote, a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed to pass the Senate by a vote total of 43-57. Additional votes on other reform proposals are expected to occur on very soon, although the exact timing is fluid.
What does this mean and what can members do?
While the votes that have occurred to this point do not repeal the Affordable Care Act, the process for legislation that could repeal it has begun. It is unclear at this time if any of the proposals will have the required number of votes to pass.
AAMFT opposes reform efforts that would restrict access to mental healthcare services. AAMFT has joined the larger healthcare community to oppose legislation that may negatively impact the mental healthcare patients, providers and community.
Members are encouraged to contact their U.S. Senator and urge the opposition of any reform proposal that does not at least maintain current access to mental health and substance use treatment. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact AAMFT at FamilyTEAM@aamft.org