People who don’t get treatment for mental illness can end up in jail or homeless; past research has found that about 30 percent of the chronically homeless in the U.S. are mentally ill. They are also more likely to fail out of school, lose their jobs or end up in the emergency room. And lack of treatment leads to more hospitalizations, suicides and suffering for the mentally ill and their families.
Many of these beneficiaries are young adults between the age of 18 and 34. Some are veterans: Roughly 175,000 uninsured veterans with mental illness live below the federal poverty line, the report says. The expansion would also have an impact on children, the AMHCA argues, since research suggests that parents who obtain health insurance are more likely to get coverage for their children.