Looks like California Sen. Kamala Harris is ramping up her presidential campaign by releasing an extensive mental healthcare plan that would alleviate costly copays and deductibles for patients in need.
On Monday in South Carolina, Harris released a brand-new plan aimed at making mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment affordable and available to all Americans. The plan is part of her Medicare for All proposal that she has placed at the forefront of her bid for President 2020.
“Instead of letting people silently suffer from depression, from drug addiction, from suicidal thoughts, we need to bring this out of the shadow and discuss it and put resources into it, get rid of the stigma,” the 2020 hopeful told an audience in Iowa earlier this November, as reported by The New York Times.
When we talk about health care, we often frame it as the neck down—but we need to take care of people from the neck up. In my Administration, mental health care will be a priority. pic.twitter.com/KAm7GgHO0k— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 25, 2019
She also took to Twitter to share her new plan.
Our country is in a mental health crisis. Too many Americans are silently suffering with no relief in sight. Today, I released my plan to ensure everyone has access to mental health care—whenever you need it and wherever you need it. https://t.co/4FUQBqxr9Z— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 25, 2019
According to DailyKos, Harris’ mental healthcare plan focuses on four key areas: attention on vulnerable populations; ending the mental-illness-to-jail pipeline; expanding the coverage and access to mental health services; and increasing access to hospitals, housing, and other care facilities.
Through the plan, Harris wants to bypass the hassle of costly deductibles and copays, by providing mental healthcare through the phone or video. The senator also hopes to increase the number of treatment beds and authorize a federal educational loan forgiveness program for mental healthcare workers who agree to work in at-need settings.
In addition, Harris wants to invest in early mental health screening for possible childhood trauma and end what she describes as the mental-illness-to-jail pipeline. She also is targeting veterans in this plan by increasing the spend on research at the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to better identify veterans who are living with undiagnosed mental health issues, like PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. In a move to gain support from minority communities, the senator is also proposing a $100 million fund designated for Native American communities.
“We have failed when it comes to policy solutions for Americans struggling with mental health. Too often we only focus on health care from the neck down, and we need to ensure we are addressing health care from the neck up,” says Harris in a press release as reported by ESSENCE. “My plan will deliver mental health care on demand and get care for all Americans who need it by removing obstacles like high copays and deductibles, providing direct access to providers via telemedicine, and investing research dollars into public health challenges facing our veterans.”