What would the nation’s mental health care policy be under a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency? That is the question being raised as the 2016 presidential campaign kicks into its first major phase as presidential hopefuls hold meetings with likely voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Based on the early discussions, it appears as though Clinton foresees mental health care policy as being a more central political issue than it has been in the past. You might recall that, under the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton, Hilary took charge of health care policy until it became clear that there was insufficient political support for her hand-crafted single-payer health plan. But, the lay of the political landscape may be different this time around and an major shift in US mental health care policy might enjoy more popular support—potentially from both sides of the political aisle.
Over the past week, Clinton’s policy advisers held working sessions with potential voters in Iowa and New Hampshire with the goal of shaping up a mental health care policy that is centered helping people dealing with substance abuse and mental illness. Clinton senior policy advisers Ann O’Leary and Maya Harris led Google hangouts Thursday and Friday with professionals from the ranks of mental health treatment, law enforcement, and local public policy makers. The discussions centered on the use of methamphetamines in Iowa and on opiate addiction in New Hampshire. The US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has said that deaths from heroin in the United States have risen from 3,041 in 2008 to 8,260 in 2013.
It is widely believed that Mrs. Clinton believes that the solution may be to increase funding to substance abuse treatment facilities and that health care insurance companies should be required to treat addiction as they would any other chronic disease.
“This is a quiet epidemic, and it is striking in small towns and rural areas as much as any big city,” Clinton said.
“The drug epidemic, meth, pills in Iowa, and then I got to New Hampshire and at my very first coffee shop meeting I heard about the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire,” Clinton said. “This is tearing families apart, but it is below the surface. People aren’t talking about it, because it’s something that is hard to deal with,” Clinton said.
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