Strategies for Legislative Change
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was presented during the presidency of Obama to provide more opportunities in healthcare coverage and reduce the number of uninsured people in the country. While major achievements are already evident in the medical sphere, there are many points to elaborate on in the future. For instance, mental and behavioral health treatment has long remained controversial and costly.
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The Affordable Care Act together with the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act have slightly improved coverage for mental and behavioral health treatment, but further legislative changes are required, particularly in Florida.
Even though there are many controversial treatment options related to various kinds of diseases, much attention is dedicated to mental and behavioral treatment which also encompasses the issues of substance abuse and addiction. People who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder could not obtain individual health insurance in most states (Frank, Beronio, & Glied, 2014). While inborn or acquired mental problems usually occur against the person’s will and require immediate intervention, drug, and alcohol abuse results from the freedom of one’s choice. Due to such a nuance, many insurance companies refused to cover those conditions.
In particular, the recent report reveals that Florida has approximately six hundred thousand uninsured individuals with mental health issues (Dadi, 2017). The limited access to substance abuse and other forms of mental healthcare treatment result in rising heroin addiction levels and an increased number of deaths because of drug and alcohol abuse (Ross, 2015). The controversy of this treatment option is not only related to the conscious self-control of those who are prone to substance abuse, but it also concerns the cost of therapy, consultations with experts, rehabilitation services, and medicine.
The availability of mental and behavioral health treatment implies both positive and negative effects. The former includes better financing, increased coverage, and enhanced safety for affected people and those around them. Owing to greater budgeting ensured by the Affordable Care Act, the potential of healthcare services implies the improvement of public health (Fox & Shaw, 2015). Increased coverage provided by Medicaid constitutes “a significant benefit considering that one in five older adults has at least one identified mental health disorder” (Collins & Saylor, 2018, p. 46). Subsequently, affordable treatment is likely to improve conditions, including the mental stability, of people with disorders and enhance the security of those around.
Nevertheless, there are also negative implications of mental and behavioral health treatment, including the increased number of patients, unwillingness of insurance companies to provide coverage, and the lack of alterations. According to the first aspect, the full coverage of mental and behavioral treatment may provoke people to enjoy substance abuse first and later seek for help. Thus certain limitations are still required in this field in order to avoid such cases.
The second aspect is associated with the unwillingness of insurance companies to provide health coverage. Indeed, the recent report illustrates that those are more than twice as likely to deny authorization for mental health care compared to the general one (Frank et al., 2014). The third factor is related to the practical implementation where federal changes mandating parity between physical and mental healthcare benefits are still not evident (Ross, 2015). These negative effects emerge on the basis of the ethical and controversial nature of the issue because mental and behavioral impairment require a long-term intervention with uncertain results as patients face difficulties in getting rid of the addiction.
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In order to assure stability and certainty in healthcare coverage for mental and behavioral impairment, some strategies for legislative changes in the state of Florida must be provided. First of all, it is necessary to acknowledge that Florida has a large number of uninsured people, including those who have mental disorders or are involved in substance abuse. Secondly, the state should increase investment in mental health and substance abuse services to address growing needs at colleges, universities, and prison facilities to avoid public health emergencies (Dadi, 2017).
Compared to other states, Florida invests in healthcare coverage three times less than the national average per capita. Therefore, the third statement affirms that the investment should be not nominal but rather practical. The fourth aspect concerns lawmakers who need to rely on the common-sense approach to address the state’s situation in substance abuse and mental health problems by expanding Medicaid (Dadi, 2017).
In addition, the fifth statement affirms that those changes need to be reasonable with established limits on the frequency of visits and the duration of treatment (Frank et al., 2014). Those clauses will prevent the inappropriate use and overindulgence of healthcare benefits.
The Affordable Care Act has introduced a range of opportunities, including benefits in parity between physical and mental health. Even though both of these aspects equally contribute to personal well-being, mental and behavioral healthcare treatment options remain controversial and costly with a number of both positive and negative effects. While the increased health coverage for such impairment is seen as beneficial for affected people, some of them might misuse such opportunities. In Florida, a large number of uninsured people may result in a public health emergency, that is why certain legislative actions should be adopted.
Collins, B., & Saylor, J. (2018). The Affordable Care Act: Where are we now? Nursing 2018, 48(5), 44-47.
Dadi, E. (2017). Florida must increase its support for mental health services. Florida Policy Institute. Web.
Fox, J. B., & Shaw, F. E. (2015). Clinical preventive services: Coverage and the Affordable Care Act. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), e7-e10.
Frank, R. G., Beronio, K., & Glied, S. A. (2014). Behavioral health parity and the Affordable Care Act. Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation, 13(0), 31-43.
Ross, J. (2015). Obamacare mandated better mental health-care coverage. It hasn’t happened. The Washington Post. Web.