National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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july 7, 2017

Joy Burwell
(202) 748-8789

“New language can’t cover up old problems. The latest version of the Senate health bill is no less disastrous than its predecessor and would have a similarly devastating impact on our friends, family members and neighbors living with an addiction or mental illness.

The proposed opioid treatment grant fund is, at best, insulting. You can’t write a check and wash your hands of the opioid crisis sweeping our country. We don’t treat heart disease or diabetes with grants, and addiction should be no different. Grants are not a substitute for health coverage, and keep people from getting access to any health services other than those related to their addiction. Like any chronic disease, addiction can’t be treated in isolation.

And this proposed fund comes nowhere close to filling the $772 billion hole left by the bill’s devastating cuts to Medicaid, one of the most important sources of health coverage for people living with addictions.

This version also undermines private market coverage of addictions and mental illness by allowing insurance plans to offer bare-bones options that exclude lifesaving addiction and mental health care. The brain is part of the body and should be treated as such, but this bill would take us backward to the days when it was excluded from health care coverage.

We continue to urge the Senate to vote down this disastrous bill.”

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The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained. For more information, please visit