The Behavioral Health Care Affordability Problem

Introduction and summary

For far too long, people—especially people of color, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities—have struggled to access behavioral health care services in the United States. Reports of individuals endlessly navigating inaccurate provider directories,1 insurance denials,2 and expensive treatment3 have proliferated in recent years.

The coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted and exacerbated the behavioral health crisis and barriers to access care.4 Self-reported anxiety and depression disorder symptoms have increased 400 percent during the pandemic.5 Moreover, the same historically oppressed communities that have faced the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis—Black, Native, and

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