With Additional Insurance Available, Why Are Not More Mental Health Services Being Provided?

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Abstract

Among the major objectives of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, often referred to today in political discussion as “Obamacare,” was to significantly extend more health insurance benefits to those seeking mental health services. This commentary suggests that these recent legislative acts have accomplished little to date to enhance the delivery and the financing of additional mental health services because of the significant delays in rule making and other federal bureaucratic snafus, the numerous difficulties that the newly insured patients will experience in gaining access to qualified mental health personnel, and the cultural factors impinging on the hesitancy of the mentally ill to seek care from mental health professionals.

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