Representative Josh Harder worked to pass an amendment he introduced through the House of Representatives as part of the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act. His amendment would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to offer expert analysis on the impact that the administration’s support of junk health care plans would have on access to mental health care. The Harder amendment passed unanimously.
“People in the Central Valley deserve access to mental health care – we need to know how many Americans could be scammed out of their coverage by the junk plans this administration is pushing,” said Rep. Harder. “Mental health coverage is just as important as any other form of care – we can’t let insurance companies get away with collecting premiums from people and then denying them services when they need them most.”
Last year, the administration rolled out a new Executive Order which would allow states to sidestep important protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Instead of requiring insurance to cover all health care services, these new “junk plans” would provide insurance companies an opportunity to collect premiums but refuse to cover important services, including mental health care. Rep. Harder’s amendment would require an expert analysis through GAO to determine exactly how many people would lose access to these services under the administration’s plan.
One category of junk plans, Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI), collects premiums from its beneficiaries, but only about half of these plans cover mental health care and only a third cover Substance Use Disorder.
According to the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Community Health Insights, access to mental, behavioral, and substance abuse services is the number one significant health need within the Stanislaus Surgical Hospital service area. The area includes all of Stanislaus County.