The Affordable Care Act 2010 is one of the most comprehensive healthcare insurance covers that the United States has ever had in its history. This Act was meant to ensure that all Americans, including those who are financially challenged, have access to affordable healthcare services. According to Angel and Miles (2014), the Act, popularly known as Obamacare, was designed in a way that the rich help in paying for the medical cover of the poor.
Although it has remained one of the most controversial Acts to have been passed within the last eight years, Arnold (2013) says that it was a noble idea to have a mechanism through which American citizens would be given access to quality medical services even if they do not have the financial capacity to pay for them. One of the areas that have been significantly impacted by this Act is mental health illness and substance abuse. In this paper, the researcher will critically look at the implications for mental health illnesses and substance abuse under the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
According to a study conducted by Cantor, Thompson, and Farnham (2013), mental health illnesses and substance abuse are medical problems that for a long time have been ignored by the healthcare policies that existed before Obamacare. In the past, patients suffering from these two illnesses had to take comprehensive health insurance coverage or pay for these services every time they went to hospitals in case they lacked any insurance policy.
However, this changed with the introduction of Obamacare. The Act requires that all health insurance policies in the market- whether it is the one offered by the government or those that are offered by private companies- must cover mental health and substance abuse disorder services (Angel & Miles, 2014). As such, this policy ensures that those under these health insurance policies can get medical attention for their mental health problems or substance use disorders without having to pay any additional fee.
Arnold (2013) says that one of the problems of fighting substance use disorder, which sometimes leads to mental health problems, is the cost factor. A good number of those who use hard drugs are financially challenged either because of their tender age or inability to get and retain good jobs. When they are forced to pay for the medical services to help them out of their condition, they often resort to ignoring such services, preferring to continue abusing drugs.
According to Angel and Miles (2014), Obamacare also covers “rehabilitative services that can help support people with behavioral health challenges.” It means that those who have been using drugs but are willing to change their substance use behavior can also get medication under this policy. They do not need to pay anything extra because of this comprehensive cover. Those who have mental health problems can also visit rehabilitative centers where they can get medication at no additional charges.
As Arnold (2013) says, care specifically promotes a situation where medical services are made increasingly affordable to reduce the burden of diseases in the country. Most of the private and public rehabilitation centers all over the country currently receive extra funding from the government and private health insurance companies to help them offer services to the increased population in the country. There is also increased public awareness about the availability of mental health and substance use rehabilitative services in the country.
This Act has remained very controversial and as such, it has created public knowledge about the benefits of a comprehensive health insurance plan. Americans now have a better understanding of health insurance and they know what should be done to ensure that they can access medical services even at times that they have financial problems.
As American society continues to benefit from this Affordable Care Act, it is feared that about 2.6 million uninsured people may not have access to these medical benefits enjoyed by others within this country (Arnold, 2013). This policy was designed to help the low-class members of the American society who could not afford expensive healthcare policies offered in the market. The Act also acknowledged the fact that some Americans cannot afford healthcare insurance plans because they do not have stable jobs. As such, the plan was also meant to cover those who do not have insurance cover. However, some states do not participate in the Medicaid program. It means that the positive implications that this Act may have on those with mental health and substance use problems are not enjoyed by everyone.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is the best policy that Americans have ever had in terms of dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems. This comprehensive healthcare policy identifies mental health and substance use as problems that must be dealt with to reduce the burden of diseases in the country. Patients suffering from these health problems can now get medication without having to make extra payments.
Angel, J., & Miles, T. (2014). Lessons Learned From Teaching the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 20(1), 131-138.
Arnold, H. (2013). The Affordable Care Act and International Recruitment and Migration of Nursing Professionals. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 20(2), 1373-1391.
Cantor, J., Thompson, F., & Farnham, J. (2013). States’ Commitment to Medicaid Before the Affordable Care Act: Trends and Implications. Inquiry, 50(1), 71-84.