The First Lady Of NYC Made A Great Point About Mental Health & The ACA

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.
While it can be hard to keep track of all the things that are changing under President Trump's administration, the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act is one of the most drastic. Rolling back the ACA could leave 20 million people without health insurance. It's a given that this could put people at a disadvantage when it comes to their physical health, but New York City's First Lady Chirlane McCray wants people to know that's not the only thing that could suffer.

In an essay for Cosmopolitan, McCray praised the ACA as one of the first steps towards providing more inclusive, affordable care for mental health issues in addition to physical ones.

"Services for mental illness and substance misuse have been severely underfunded and ignored for decades," she wrote. However, the ACA requires insurance companies to cover mental health care the same way they do physical. In fact, it is considered "essential."

"Without the ACA, coverage of mental health problems could evaporate," she says. "Even worse, many of the Americans affected would struggle to find alternatives. The ACA expanded access to poor and working-class Americans. These are families with an income of less than $26,500 a year. Millions of Americans will have to choose between putting food on the table, or treating their mental health or substance misuse problems."

For McCray, this issue is personal. Growing up, both of her parents had depression, and more recently, her daughter was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. When looking for appropriate care, the family faced the difficulties first-hand. "I could not imagine how families with fewer resources were able to manage everything," she says.

It's not all doom and gloom. We still have a chance to save it, and McCray knows how. She recommends calling your congressional representatives and asking them to mend, not end, the ACA. This is the best way to let your voice be heard.

The First Lady is also the driving force behind ThriveNYC, an organization striving to reform health care in the city. This is why she knows just how crucial this fight is, and exactly what we need to do to move forward.

You can read the full essay over here.

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