Carper Joins Health Community to Highlight Consequences of GOP Health Plan on Drug and Mental Health Treatment

DOVER, Del. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Connections Community Support Programs CEO Cathy McKay and state and local leaders to talk about the consequences the proposed repeal and replace health plan would have on the progress states like Delaware have made with drug and mental health treatment.

“President Trump promised better care and lower costs for all Americans, but neither of these promises would come true under the health care plan put forth by the GOP,” said Senator Carper. “The plan contains provisions that, if enacted, could devastate Americans’ mental health and addiction coverage and care. It decimates Medicaid, and will hand control of life-saving treatment decisions back into the hands of the insurers by letting them decide the value of the coverage they offer. Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with this new plan is irresponsible and dangerous.”

After examining the plan, the Congressional Budget Office found that 14 million Americans will lose their insurance by 2018, and that number will go up to 24 million by 2016. Cuts to Medicaid – the single most important funder of mental health and addiction services in this country – will be $880 billion. For those not on Medicaid, the quality of their plans will be out of their control – and they could lose substance abuse and mental health benefits.

 “We’ve been able to expand community-based mental health and addiction treatment services for thousands of people in Delaware, and in many cases, Medicaid coverage has funded that critical care,” said Dr. Walker, a family physician. “With 308 overdose deaths last year in our state, we can’t afford to have the federal portion of that spending reduced. We have to figure out how to support people in need and not be forced to choose between vulnerable populations.”

“The majority of the individuals we serve at Connections, who are among the most vulnerable and at-risk citizens in Delaware, are Medicaid recipients,” McKay said. “The issues faced by the people we serve opioid dependence, serious mental illness, intellectual disabilities, justice involvement are significant. Their successful treatment is crucial not only for them, but for their loved ones and the community at large.”