Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Letter to Fred Upton, Chairman Committee on Energy and Commerce and Tim Murphy, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations - Hearing to Examine Impact on Americans with Mental Illnesses of States' Refusal to Expand Medicaid

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

The Honorable Fred Upton
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tim Murphy
Chairman
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Murphy:

We are writing to urge you to hold a hearing on the impact of states' refusal to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act on uninsured Americans suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.

Last month, the American Mental Health Counselors Association released a report revealing that nearly 3.7 million uninsured adults with serious mental health and substance use conditions will be ineligible for Medicaid simply because they live in one of the 25 states that refused to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. This includes over 768,000 individuals with a serious mental illness, such as major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder; over 1.5 million individuals suffering from serious psychological distress, such as panic, anxiety, and mood disorders; and nearly 1.4 million individuals dealing with a substance use disorder.

In Chairman Murphy's home state of Pennsylvania alone, there are 203,000 uninsured individuals with serious mental health or substance use conditions who will not receive care because the state declined to expand the program.

Between 2009 and 2012, states cut approximately $4.35 billion from their mental health budgets, even as demand for public mental health services increased. With the federal government covering the full cost of Medicaid expansion through 2016, we cannot understand why governors and state legislatures have purposely prevented millions of low-income Americans in desperate need of lifesaving healthcare services from obtaining quality, affordable insurance. A hearing will let us examine their rationale for refusing to provide coverage.

The full Committee and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations have held four hearings and requested hundreds of thousands of pages of documents since October 1, 2013, to investigate technical problems with Healthcare.gov that prevented some individuals from signing up for insurance in the initial days and weeks of the open enrollment period. And you have shown an admirable interest in the plight of individuals with mental illnesses, holding four hearings, roundtables, and forums -- and planning for a fifth later this month -- to investigate concerns about whether these individuals are receiving appropriate care. Yet you have not held a single hearing examining how the state governors and legislatures' refusal to expand Medicaid will prevent millions of Americans with mental illnesses from obtaining health insurance.

We request that you hold a hearing on this topic as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Member

Diana DeGette
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top