Study: ACA Could Close Mental Health Treatment Gap

Oct. 27, 2013 / By

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New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram

 Editor’s Note: Despite the fact that one in six Californians has a mental health issue, private insurers historically have lacked coverage for mental health treatment, and public health programs don’t offer enough, resulting in many patients not getting the treatment they need. The Affordable Care Act could help close the gap, says a study.

A study by the California HealthCare Foundation indicates that about one in 20 adults in California suffers from a serious mental illness, with the rate among children being higher.

Serious mental illness among California adults is highest among Native Americans, multi-racial non-Latinos and African Americans.

There was variation, albeit slighter, in the rates among California children too, with Latino and African American children topping the rate at 8 percent, and Native American coming a close second at 7.9 percent. Rates for white, Asian and multiracial children were close to or below 7 percent.

The study points out that for California children and adults, the prevalence of serious mental illness was higher among those who earned less – statistics borne out by the latest census data, which indicate that the highest rate of poverty is among Native Americans and African Americans.

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