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ASAM Joins Coalition Letter in Support of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017

October 27, 2017



The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) joined the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) in submitting a letter to express support for the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, and leading bipartisan efforts to provide stabilization to the health insurance marketplace. 

"The maintenance of needed health and mental health care has little meaning without affordable and ready access to the plans providing such coverage, at parity with medical/surgical benefits. Ensuring affordable and ready access requires retention of the ACA’s prohibition against denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, as well as the ACA’s prohibition against annual and lifetime limits on coverage. This is particularly vital given the opioid addiction epidemic our nation is facing, and the millions of Americans with multiple chronic co-occurring mental health and physical health conditions.

We believe your bill is a step in the right direction.  It is critical that Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR) funding be maintained to lower individual market premiums and to provide security for insurers to remain in the marketplace.  Furthermore, funding for outreach efforts is paramount to help consumers choose the right plan for themselves and their families, and to ensure more people obtain coverage.

We are supportive in concept of allowing states to propose innovative value-based insurance designs and enabling streamlining approval of Section 1332 waivers, as long as current law provisions protecting low income people, those with serious health conditions, and other vulnerable populations are maintained.  We specifically believe that any final bill that may be brought to a vote must maintain current law requirements that all plans offered in the individual insurance market: (1) must cover the 10 categories of essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment;  (2) require guaranteed issue and renewability; (3) cannot deny coverage or impose higher premiums on people with preexisting conditions, and (4) cannot impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage."