Obamacare Repeal Could Endanger Mental Health, and Other News

American flag in front of the capitol buildingLast week, the Senate voted on a budget that could defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The move is the first step toward achieving the promise of Senate Republicans to “repeal and replace” what has become commonly known as Obamacare. The ACA mandates coverage for mental health and substance abuse at levels equal to the coverage provided for physical health issues. The law opened more mental health care options for millions of people, particularly those who previously could not afford their own insurance or who bought their own policies.

Republican lawmakers have not yet proposed an alternative to provide mental health coverage to those who received it under the ACA. If they only repeal the law, without replacing it, the effects on mental health coverage and treatment could be substantial. Prior to the law, people who could not get coverage for mental health treatment had few options. USA Today tells the story of Jarvis Reynolds, who died by suicide in 2010 after he could not get treatment for his mental health concerns.

About 30% of people covered under the Medicaid expansion of the ACA have a mental health condition. Without an alternative to the ACA, treatment may become out of reach.

Getting Older, Sleeping Less

Insomnia often becomes more frequent as people age. Age-related insomnia may be a temporary problem or a symptom of an underlying and potentially treatable condition. It can exacerbate pre-existing mental and physical health conditions, but doctors often fail to ask about sleep habits during checkups.

‘Middle Child Syndrome’ Doesn’t Actually Exist—But it Still Might Come with Some Surprising Psychological Advantages

“Middle child syndrome” is not a real diagnosis, and many of the traits believed to be associated with middle-child status are no more prevalent among these children than among oldest and youngest children. However, middle children may gain some social advantages, such as a willingness to turn to their siblings for help instead of their parents.

Diminishing Levels of GABA May Play Role in Age-Related Cognitive Decline

A study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry suggests dropping GABA levels could play a role in age-related cognitive issues. GABA is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. The study found that higher GABA levels in the brain’s frontal lobe, which plays a role in high-level cognition, are associated with better cognitive functioning in seniors.

Babies Born Addicted to Opiates Perform Poorly in School, Study Says

Amid a prescription and illicit opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, more babies will likely be born with an addiction to opiates. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, these children may perform worse at school than their peers.

The Human Side of Animal Hoarding

Animal hoarders own more pets than they can adequately care for, often leading to animal neglect. This was the case with a Maryland resident who hoarded 66 dogs. Animal hoarders are often charged with animal cruelty, but hoarding is a mental health issue. Hoarders may see themselves as having a special connection to their animals, or rely on their animals as a source of companionship. Some hoard to cope with the pain of loss, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

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  • LouAnne

    January 20th, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    As a small business owner the past two years have been the only time in my life that my husband and I could actually afford to have some health insurance coverage. I know that we could have never done that without the ACA and the subsidies so I am thankful for having it while I can. We are not even close to being able to go on Medicare and make too much in our state for Medicaid so if this goes away I guess that we will be living without insurance again, holding our breath and praying that nothing serious happens to us.

  • Ben

    January 23rd, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    The hoarders, I don’t get it at all. How can they even look at their situation and find it to be reasonable, much less manageable?

  • Forde

    January 23rd, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    My doctor never really asks me how I am sleeping and i just have this feeling that If I ever brought it up all he would want to do would be to prescribe me a pill for that. He never has any other alternative suggestions for me to try so I have become quite familiar with looking things up myself simply because I don’t want to be a medicated zombie.

  • Mary

    January 23rd, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    I am so upset that my son and daughter both are likely going to lose healthcare coverage since Trump took office. I could never afford to have them covered but they have some little jobs that makes them able to qualify for healthcare. I don’ t want them to put their lives at risk because of no insurance but it is sure looking like this is what we are headed back toward. If they would find it in their hearts to increase Medicaid then maybe that could help them but I am not too sure that those in office really care about the little guy quite as much as they once stated that they did.

  • ernie

    January 24th, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    The quote is “may perform worse at school”, not that there is any guarantee that they will. I don’t think that you can throw in the towel quite so early on these kids. The power of positive thinking will get all of us pretty far. I think that most parents know that when their children are born addicted they will face an uphill battle, but nothing is impossible and I think that this would be a better ideal to instill in these families rather than telling them that there is no hope.

  • Bryan

    January 24th, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Can GABA levels be enhanced with medication?

  • marie

    January 25th, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Wait- I thought that the middle child was at a disadvantage but this states that there are actual advantages to that spot? Sweet!

  • Edna C

    January 25th, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    A few years ago I had to ask my doctors to do a total overhaul on the medications that I was taking because one would interact with another and cause me to have hallucinations. I thought that I was really seeing people but it was that medicine. I have often wondered if it could be medications that I take that now cause me to not sleep as well as I used to be able to sleep. I love the sleep but I am finding it harder and harder to sleep all night long without having at least an hour or two of staring at the ceiling.

  • Danielle

    January 26th, 2017 at 1:56 PM

    I am so hurt and disappointed that so many people in this country care so very little about the others around them and the type of healthcare that they have access to. Why would I want anyone to have anything less than what I have or even think that they deserve less just because for whatever reason they can’t afford it? I would want them to look at me and want the same for me that they can afford themselves. Is that too much to ask?

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