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Mentally ill get shafted by states that opted out of the ACA

People who suffer from mental illness are the least likely to be covered by the expansion of Medicaid that accompanies the Affordable Care Act (ACA) according to a new study released by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) on Feb. 26, 2014.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stands in the light of a digital projector before delivering remarks and answering questions during the U.S. Conference of Mayors January 22, 2014 in Washington.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stands in the light of a digital projector before delivering remarks and answering questions during the U.S. Conference of Mayors January 22, 2014 in Washington.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Health Link Assisters Org. is using the church as a meeting place to sign up people and provide information, answer questions, and enroll residents in affordable public and private health insurance plans.
Health Link Assisters Org. is using the church as a meeting place to sign up people and provide information, answer questions, and enroll residents in affordable public and private health insurance plans. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The report indicates that 6.7 million people in the United States suffer from some mental health condition or a substance abuse disorder that could be covered by the ACA. The report continues to indicate that 4 million of the people that have a treatable mental condition or a substance abuse problem will not be insured in the states that opted out of the ACA.

The majority of people that have a mental health issue and cannot participate in the ACA expansion of Medicaid live in the states that are traditionally known as the South.

The report indicates that a large number of people that have mental health issues go on to commit violent crimes if they remain untreated.

The Republican governors of most of the states that opted out of the ACA claim they did so to produce a cost savings to the federal government and to their state governments.

The report indicates that time will tell if the cost conscious decision to opt out of the ACA will result in higher costs for crimes committed by people with mental illnesses.