A recent Facebook post with a hashtag indicating support for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential bid argued this point in favor of the candidates signature healthcare plan, Medicare for All: "Just so were clear: people with pre-existing mental health conditions have access to firearms and not healthcare."
This post, which has been shared more than 58,000 times since it was published on Aug. 4, was flagged as part of Facebooks efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
First, lets look at whether people with pre-existing mental health conditions can access guns.
Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by people with felony convictions, domestic abusers, and people with specific kinds of mental health histories. The Gun Control Act prohibits transferring a gun to a person who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution," according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Such people are also prohibited from possessing a gun.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence which advocates for a more comprehensive system for reporting mental illness and conducting background checks states on its website that while such checks have blocked more than 3 million people in those categories from getting firearms, federal gun law generally doesnt affect other people who public health researchers have identified as having a higher risk of being dangerous, including other people who have suffered from severe mental illness.
"The system intended to limit access to firearms for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis still includes dangerous loopholes," the center says.
The law center also points to a 2012 Mother Jones story. It reported that among 62 people accused in mass shootings in recent years, 38 "displayed signs of possible mental health problems prior to the killings." Nearly 80 percent of the perpetrators obtained their weapons legally, according to the publication.
In 2016, the New York Times detailed how people with mental illness are able to get guns. They can buy them from private sellers because federal law doesnt require background checks for such transactions. Or, they fall under a broader category of mental illness and skirt the restrictions federal law has for people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital or deemed a "mental defective" by a court or other authority. Plus, mental health records are "overwhelmingly under-reported to federal and state databases scanned during a background check," the story says.
So while federal law prohibits people with certain kinds of mental health histories from owning a gun, there are gaps that leave room for people with severe mental illness to buy guns.
Next, lets look at whether people with pre-existing mental health conditions cant access health care.
The Affordable Care Act requires health plans in individual and small group markets to cover 10 essential benefits. Among them: mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment like counseling and psychotherapy.
"Pre-existing mental and behavioral health conditions are covered, and spending limits arent allowed," reads a page on healthcare.gov covering mental health and substance abuse coverage. "Marketplace plans cant deny you coverage or charge you more just because you have any pre-existing condition, including mental health and substance use disorder conditions."
Other health plans characterized as "short-term, limited duration insurance" often purchased to fill in coverage gaps such as when a person is between jobs are not required to include Obamacares essential benefits and can exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage or reject people entirely. The Obama administration limited these policies to just three months and regulated them so they couldnt be renewed, NPR reported in October, but the Trump Administration has changed that; in some states, people can buy such policies that last a year and can renew them twice.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has decried these short-term plans, saying they discriminate against mental illness. But theyre not sold on the health insurance marketplace and people cant use federal subsidies to help pay for them. For very healthy people, these plans can be cheaper than whats available on healthcare.gov, said Linda Blumberg an institute fellow at Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, but its a small segment of the overall insured population.
Job-based coverage from large employers meaning those with more than 50 employees - could also limit mental health coverage, Blumberg said.
But since the passage of federal mental health parity laws and the Affordable Care Act, plans that offer mental health benefits must do so in a way comparable to the other medical services they cover.
Today, there are still problems with accessing mental health care, Blumberg said. Some areas have a shortage of providers, for example, or providers who arent covered by certain insurance plans. Plus, if the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sustains a lower courts decision to overturn the Affordable Care Act, she said, this Facebook post could be more meaningful.
But with the exception of short-term plans, Blumberg said the claim that people with pre-existing mental health conditions dont have access to health care isnt correct.
The Facebook post says people with pre-existing mental health conditions have access to firearms and not health care.
There are gaps in both gun control and health care systems. But the post leaves a misleading impression that anyone with pre-existing mental health conditions cant get health care coverage when, in reality, its only a slice of all health insurance plans that dont have to comply with federal rules about pre-existing conditions.
We rate this post Half True.
See original here:
- Veteran mental health key part of pledge signing - VAntage Point Blog - November 14th, 2019
- The Toll of Holding a Job While Coping With Mental Health Issues - Bloomberg - November 14th, 2019
- Grant Program Announced to Fund Mental-Health Awareness Training - NBC Southern California - November 14th, 2019
- How the VA is Using Customer Feedback to Support Veteran's Mental Health - VAntage Point Blog - November 14th, 2019
- Northern Rivers streamlines a fragmented mental health system - Times Union - November 14th, 2019
- The impact of mental health training in the workplace - Medical News Today - November 14th, 2019
- The Changing Landscape Of Masculinity And Mens Mental Health In The Workplace - Forbes - November 14th, 2019
- CU app could change the way mental illness is diagnosed - The Denver Channel - November 14th, 2019
- New inpatients banned at mental health unit rated unsafe - The Guardian - November 14th, 2019
- Mental Health Data Shows Significant Signs of Depression and Anxiety at Harvard | News - Harvard Crimson - November 14th, 2019
- First-ever Maryland Cares event focuses on student-athlete mental health - Testudo Times - November 14th, 2019
- A student's battle with mental health and an attempted suicide played a part in her disciplinary probation - Mustang News - November 14th, 2019
- American millennials' mental and physical health is on the decline and they're on track to die faster than Gen X, a new report says - Business... - November 14th, 2019
- Abuse and torture of mental health patients rife across Nigeria, says report - The Guardian - November 14th, 2019
- Sioux Citys Opportunities School, focusing on behavior and mental health - KCAU 9 - November 14th, 2019
- Penn moves mental health and wellness programs under the direction of the provost - The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 14th, 2019
- National parks estimated to save trillions in mental health costs - Cosmos - November 14th, 2019
- Amazon's 'Modern Love': Do's and Don'ts When Managing Mental Illness at Work - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - November 14th, 2019
- Students work to improve their mental health as UNC works to improve its resources - The Daily Tar Heel - November 14th, 2019
- Sex-reassignment surgery yields long-term mental health benefits, study finds - NBCNews.com - November 14th, 2019
- Feeling suicidal, she turned to her college. But it had just cut campus mental health services. - The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 14th, 2019
- Drivers' mental health getting more attention - Truck News - November 14th, 2019
- Veteran employment and mental health: Difficulties transitioning to civilian life - KOAT New Mexico - November 14th, 2019
- Hundreds of people with autism wrongly being detained in mental health units - Sky News - November 14th, 2019
- Kay Warren talks mental health at Houston Baptist University - TMC News - Texas Medical Center News - November 9th, 2019
- Maddinson Out of Pakistan Tour Game on Mental Health Grounds - The New York Times - November 9th, 2019
- Witnesses concerned about mental health of man struck by a vehicle - Fort Wayne's NBC - November 9th, 2019
- UArizona program focuses on veterans struggling with mental health - KGUN - November 9th, 2019
- Brooklyn's Mental Health Court celebrates one thousand graduates diverted from prison system - Brooklyn Daily Eagle - November 9th, 2019
- What Others Say: On female inmate's mental health - Index-Journal - November 9th, 2019
- Counseling Center working to spread awareness of mental health on campus - The Wood Word - November 9th, 2019
- United Healthcare fined $1 million by Pennsylvania for violations of mental-health law - The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 9th, 2019
- High anxiety: What's driving more teens to seek mental health care? - MinnPost - November 9th, 2019
- For farmers in a mental health crisis, it's often tough to seek help. A Colorado program aims to begin conversations. - The Colorado Sun - November 9th, 2019
- Mental Health and the Quest for Counseling - The Dartmouth - November 9th, 2019
- Family of man with mental health issues calls 911 for ambulance, but police arrive instead - WPLG Local 10 - November 9th, 2019
- Kaiser looks to avoid disruption as mental health workers prepare to strike - The Mercury News - November 9th, 2019
- Nonprofit Mental Health Provider Will End Clinic-Based Therapy Program, Affecting 450 Mainers - Maine Public - November 8th, 2019
- Culture change is the cutting edge of mental health benefits at work - Reuters - November 8th, 2019
- PNC-hosted panel examines children and mental health - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News - November 8th, 2019
- Protecting Teens' Mental Health Is a Wise Investment - Kiplinger's Personal Finance - November 8th, 2019
- Empathy is good, but what if you care too much? Dr. Judith Orloff has advice for empaths - USA TODAY - November 8th, 2019
- How to Ease the Mental-Health Impacts of Disasters - CityLab - November 8th, 2019
- How to watch HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports on TV - NBCSports.com - November 8th, 2019
- Wausau School District addresses safety and mental health - WSAW - November 8th, 2019
- Most people give up on using mental health apps within a few weeks - New Scientist - November 8th, 2019
- Lindsey Vonn talks mental health, retirement at Philly event: 'Im hurting every day - The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 8th, 2019
- Read All About It Slam Poetry Addressing Mental Health - The State Times - November 8th, 2019
- New Jersey Voters Approve Nearly $1 Million Tax Hike to Tackle Teen Mental Health Crisis - Newsweek - November 8th, 2019
- What's the holdup? UW mental health resources looking to restructure to better serve students - Dailyuw - November 8th, 2019
- Eating alone is bad for our mental healthand the planet - Quartz - November 8th, 2019
- Incorporating mental health care with cancer treatment - 6 On Your Side - November 8th, 2019
- Hundreds of mental health beds needed to end 'shameful' out-of-area care - The Guardian - November 8th, 2019
- Minister to address mental health services crisis in Tipperary on visit to Clonmel - TipperaryLive.ie - November 8th, 2019
- Students, alumni recount experiences with mental health at Rice - The Rice Thresher - November 8th, 2019
- Cannabinoids Not Justified as Mental Health Treatment, Study Says - Psych Congress Network - November 8th, 2019
- Smoking may increase risk of mental health problems study - The Guardian - November 8th, 2019
- What is it like to live in poverty and struggle with mental health? - British Journal of Photography - November 8th, 2019
- $150M donation from Huntsman family to help establish mental health institute at the U - KUTV 2News - November 8th, 2019
- Former therapist: VA is hurting mental health care for combat veterans at its Vet Centers - NBC News - November 8th, 2019
- Taking the Cops Out of Mental Health-Related 911 Calls - James Moore - October 26th, 2019
- After years of struggle, Ben Gordon has found his calm - NBCSports.com - October 26th, 2019
- Gov. Baker Hopes Proposed Health Care Bill Will Improve Access To Mental Health, Addiction Services - wgbh.org - October 26th, 2019
- Changing Your Mindset: Tips To Improve Your Mental Health And Increase Happiness - Above the Law - October 26th, 2019
- Mental health professionals joining SWATs crisis negotiation team - MLive.com - October 26th, 2019
- Nowhere left to go: Where to seek help for mental health and suicide - Dailyuw - October 26th, 2019
- State lawmakers urged to focus on mental health of first responders - WCJB - October 26th, 2019
- Sports Participation a Big Win for Kids' Mental Health - Medscape - October 17th, 2019
- Michigan mental-health counselors get final OK of bill that allows them to keep practicing - Detroit Free Press - October 17th, 2019
- SF Mayor Breed Announces Backing for Mental Health Plan to be on 2020 Ballot - NBC Bay Area - October 17th, 2019
- Brittany Snow Recalls the Aftermath of Sharing Mental Health Journey - E! NEWS - October 17th, 2019
- Focusing on prevention: Zak Williams talks about supes' mental health overhaul - Mission Local - October 17th, 2019
- Portland Police Are Still Shooting People Who Experience Mental Illnesses. Cristi Martin Wants Her Son To Be The Last. - OPB News - October 17th, 2019
- Mental Health Is A Leading Cause For Why People Are Quitting Their JobsHeres What You Need To Do Now - Forbes - October 17th, 2019
- Stop the Stigma on Mental Illness - FOX 2 Detroit - October 17th, 2019
- Battling on Front Lines of Mental Health in NJs Public Schools - NJ Spotlight - October 17th, 2019
- Up to 263 workers at mental health hospital wait to hear if they have a job - Palm Beach Post - October 17th, 2019
- Microsoft and SilverCloud collaboration to leverage AI for mental health - MedCity News - October 17th, 2019
- Cedar Rapids native sharing her mental health story, encourages others to open up - KCRG - October 17th, 2019
- Concerns over mental health days in school - WOKV - October 17th, 2019