Medicaid expansion boosted mental health coverage in four states

A federal watchdog found that 1 in 3 Medicaid expansion enrollees got mental health treatment in four states.

The GAO looked at four states that expanded Medicaid: Iowa, New York, Washington, and West Virginia. It found that in 2014, 1 in 3 expansion enrollees got behavioral health treatments.

Psychotherapy visits and antidepressant prescriptions were the most common services used, GAO said.

GAO found that the three states specifically expanded access to mental health: Iowa, Washington, and West Virginia. In New York, 20 percent of expansion enrollees were eligible for behavioral health treatment compared to 26 percent in Washington, 33 percent in West Virginia, and 34 percent in Iowa.

The study was released just days before the Senate is preparing to vote on reform that will end Medicaid expansion.

The Senate plans to vote on a procedural motion to start debate on a House-passed bill on Tuesday. If that motion passes, then GOP leadership will likely strip out the House bill and pursue one of two options.

The first option is a 2015 bill that guts Obamacare and ends the Medicaid expansion in three years. The second bill would partially repeal and replace Obamacare and phases out the Medicaid expansion funding over three years starting in 2020.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate replacement bill would cut Medicaid by $770 billion over the next decade.

But it remains unclear if either option has enough votes to pass or if the Senate has the votes to start debate.

This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner

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