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City of Bloomington, Indiana

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Beverly Calender-Anderson, Director of Community & Family Resources Department, andersb@bloomington.in.gov, 812-349-3560

Mayor Joins Coalition to Oppose American Health Care Act

Mayor John Hamilton has joined the Cities Thrive Coalition comprised of mayors across the country in asking Congress not to enact the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It is projected that the AHCA would eliminate health insurance for 24 million people, cut $880 billion from Medicaid, and increase insurance premiums 15-20%. This bill also guts mental health care coverage, leaving the one in five Americans suffering from mental health or substance misuse issues at risk.

Mayor Hamilton will participate in Wednesday's National Mayors' Mental Health Day of Action, which stresses the critical importance of access to mental health care. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mental health coverage is an essential benefit for the first time, and the Cities Thrive Coalition, a bipartisan coalition of 155 of the nation's mayors from all 50 states advocating in support of a stronger, better funded, and more integrated behavioral health system, is calling on Congress to protect this progress.

"The misleadingly named American Health Care Act is an outright attack on access to mental health care for 24 million Americans. If enacted, it will adversely affect every community in this country as we will be forced to scramble to find ways to care for our residents in need of services. Or worse - those residents will not receive needed services. I am proud to join like-minded mayors across the nation in voicing our strong opposition to this poorly conceived legislation," commented Mayor Hamilton.

Mayor Hamilton also has signed onto a Cities Thrive bipartisan letter to Senate leaders urging them to oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, the letter with over 100 signatories cites how the AHCA would be harmful to those struggling from mental health and substance misuse issues, including:

  • eliminating Medicaid Expansion, which covers 1.2 million Americans with serious mental illness and substance misuse issues;
  • eliminating the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) requirement in Medicaid, which means states could eliminate coverage for mental health and substance misuse treatment; and
  • cutting $880 billion in federal funding to Medicaid through the use of a per capita cap or block grant, which would severely limit mental health treatment given that the majority of behavioral health spending comes via Medicaid.

The letter also expresses strong support for the provisions in the ACA which have increased mental health and substance use disorder benefits and provided parity, as well as strong opposition to efforts to convert Medicaid to block grants.

Penny Caudill, Monroe County Health Department administrator stated, "Although Monroe County and Bloomington have a number of services to address the physical and mental health issues of some of our most vulnerable residents, the current services are inadequate to cover all who need assistance. Passage of the AHCA as it stands would not only jeopardize those residents but also place a great strain on our entire community."

Follow all the news about the Mayors' Day of Action with #BloomingtonCares.