If the American Health Care Act is passed by the Senate, it will have a devastating effect on mental health-care services.

Allowing states to choose which of the essential benefits to mandate means states would allow health plans to not cover mental health treatment. Insurance companies could charge as much as 30 percent higher premiums to people who have had a gap in coverage of two months or more.

Healthy individuals would have cheaper premiums. This would also allow self-insured plans to pick a state to operate from which could potentially include a state that does not require mental health benefits for all plans while ending subsidies to help pay for insurance and replace them with tax credits.

Charging individuals higher premiums if they have a pre-existing condition, like postpartum depression, or if they are older creating a high-risk pools, and reducing services will cripple mental health services.

Individuals needing critical mental health services will flood emergency rooms, increasing cost while lowering the quality of services to our communities.

Patients will wait longer for a psychiatric bed, even days for an inpatient bed to become available or be discharged to jails or the streets.

Please do not support the AHCA amendment. It will decimate mental health services in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Maria Nielsen, Winona