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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Catch by Rep. Joseph Kennedy- Mental Health exclusions in Trumpcare

"There is is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury." Rep. Joseph Kennedy

Ever since the adoption of the Mental Health Parity** laws whereby health insurers can't discriminate against beneficiaries due to psychiatric diagnosies, many (including me) have taken this provision too much for granted, until now. In the "Trumpcare" aka "RepealCare" or better known as "RyanCare", the mental health coverage is now at risk for being abandoned. This exclusion is obviously deliberate, as a way of helping to manage the costs of acute care coverage.

Thank you Representative Joseph Kennedy for alerting this policy "catch".


CONGRESS- Democratic U.S. House Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts added more good to the *Kennedy name and made many Americans proud on Wednesday, when he spoke out against the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act proposed by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. 

On the day before, Ryan had said Republicans are doing "an act of mercy” by repealing and replacing Obamacare. Joshua Miller with the Boston Globe reports Kennedy did not see it that way at all. 

Kennedy says:
“I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” Kennedy said as the House Energy and Commerce Committee dove into the details of the GOP effort … The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.”

Kennedy then refers to a powerful quote saying, “It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us.” The young Congressman adds:

Kennedy then refers to a powerful quote saying, “It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us.” The young Congressman adds:

There is is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury.

There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering.

There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill.

This is not an ‘act of mercy.’ It is an act of malice.”

Also on the topic of mental healthcare contained in the new proposal by Ryan, Kennedy basically unravels the fact that mental healthcare according to the new plan would not have federal coverage

Here is the transcript of Kennedy forcing a GOP lawyer to admit that Republican repeal plan will cut off coverage to millions of Americans suffering from mental illness:

Kennedy: “Question for the legislative council, just to make sure I fully understand it.

Based off of what you were saying, sir, I understand the fact that this law does not impact mental health parity. But it was the combination of mental health parity and the ACA that included mental health benefits as part of the essential health benefits package. The parity just says if you offer mental health benefits, they have to be offered the same way that physical health benefits are — it does not mandate the offering of mental health benefits.

With the combination of the repeal language that we see on page 8, it means that mental health benefits are not required now, by federal law — that it would be up to the states to actually impose, so when we look at those essential health benefits, whether it’s mental healthcare or potentially for other health conditions, that is no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered by this version of this text, is that not correct?”
Attorney: “The text before us does remove the application of the central health benefits for the alternative plans in Medicaid.”

Kennedy: “It does remove them — including mental health. Yes, thank you.”

If there was a handheld mic available, Kennedy would have dropped it then. We need more congress members like him to seek, catch and call out every big and little insidious thing that the GOP is trying to do, covertly and overtly, that it not in the best interest of the people.

Cheers to Congressman Kennedy!

Image result for Cheers graphics

To view his posts and videos, you can follow him on Facebook. 
(I did! (:-))
*Joe Kennedy III is the son of Congressman Joe Kennedy II, the grandson of Senator Robert ‘Bobby’ F. Kennedy, the nephew of Senator Ted Kennedy and nephew of former President John ‘Jack’ F. Kennedy. Those are just some on the prominent men within the Kennedy family. There are some mighty amazing women as well. And there has been political tragedy. Brothers Robert and John Kennedy were both assassinated, while in office, within five years of each other.

**The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) is legislation signed into United States law on September 26, 1996 that requires annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental healthbenefits to be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering ...

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