Better Mental Health Under the Affordable Care Act

Sep 16, 2014

The news today is good for our mental health. More Americans have health insurance. One survey shows a drop in the numbers of those who've experienced serious psychological stress in the past 30 days.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE NEWS

The news today is good for our mental health. In the first research report on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the number of uninsured Americans fell by 8% in the first quarter of this year.

The survey also began to look at any changes in other basic health indicators. So far, only one indicated any significant change. There was a drop in respondents who said they experienced "a serious psychological stress during the past 30 days," down from 3.7% to 2.9%.

The findings were uncovered by what is considered to be a reliable group as part of a National Health Interview Survey. To add credence to the mental health findings (since they could be due to some other factors): they parallel the Medicaid findings in Oregon, where researchers found that coverage for the poor improved mental health and financial security, but not physical health.

For some curious reason, while today's online headlines from the American Psychiatric Association mentioned the survey and the drop in the uninsured, there was no mention of the mental health change. Although it will take at least 3 years to appreciate the changes from the ACA, this is an initial change that we in mental healthcare should be trumpeting as most desired.

Don't you think?

 

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