Hillary Clinton has made health care, especially for children and expectant mothers, a priority since her time as First Lady. When Republicans blocked national health insurance, she pushed through a bipartisan compromise which has covered millions of children, prevented untold numbers of disabilities, and created access to regular health care for children with and without disabilities.
Clinton has been working to expand mental health care for children during much of her career. She has pointed to financial barriers and to stigma, both of which result in serious under-treatment of serious mental illnesses. She supports realizing the promise of Olmstead to move psychiatric and other forms of care for people with disabilities out of institutional settings. She recognizes the potential of individuals with mental illness to work and love, rather than treating them as a problem to be managed. She has proposed measures to reverse the criminalization of mental illness and the over-incarceration, often without treatment, of mentally ill minor offenders. The Democratic Party platform discusses mental health with concrete proposals. [source]
Psychiatric Association supports her plan, saying “Her plan promotes early intervention and prevention, stronger enforcement of parity laws so psychiatric conditions are treated the same as other illnesses, and investments in brain and behavioral research. All of these measures are huge steps in the right direction.” [source]
Trump wants to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act and Republicans in Congress agree. Under Trump’s plans, young adults up to age 26 would lose the ability to stay on parents’ policies — a particular concern for youth with disabilities who are even less likely than peers to be able to secure entry level jobs that pay for health insurance. People with preexisting conditions (i.e., many people with disabilities) would again be blocked from coverage. Medicaid coverage would shrink in those states that took advantage of the Affordable Care Act to expand it. Requirements that insurance policies cover mental health and developmental disability services (including those for people with autism), would evaporate. Trump suggests instead letting insurers compete across state lines, offering bare bones policies that would leave families with huge deductibles, small caps, and exclusions for disabling conditions. He proposes relying heavily on health care savings accounts, which do not work for people with limited earning capacity and extraordinary expenses.
The Republican platform proposes turning over Medicaid to states to manage through block grants, eliminating federal rules for coverage. Donald Trump talks about mental health largely in the context of suggesting that the answer to gun violence in America is getting guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses. While mental illnesses can elevate dangers associated with gun ownership, so can many other factors that Trump ignores. Focusing on mental illness as the source of violence in our society stigmatizes people who live with it, and is factually inaccurate. On October 3, 2016, Trump, who obtained a medical deferment from the draft based on heel spurs in 1968 when hundreds of thousands of draftees were being sent to Vietnam, explained to a members of a pro-Trump veterans’ PAC that while they were “strong,” others “can’t handle” what they have seen and suffer from PTSD. [source] It is hard to imagine a more damaging message to veterans who are considering treatment, or to the professionals, friends and relatives they rely on for support, than to claim that experiencing PTSD is a sign of not being “strong.”
This is not the first time Donald Trump has suggested that mental health problems reflect personal failings. In March 2016, Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on an episode of depression that Heidi Cruz, the wife of rival Ted Cruz, had experienced years before. This was after December 2015, when Trump questioned whether Ted Cruz as a Cuban was really an evangelical Protestant. [source]
It was before May and June 2016, when he bizarrely suggested that Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. [source]
In March 2016, Trump tweeted out an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz next to a photo of Melania Trump, with the caption “A picture speaks a thousand words.” He also threatened to “spill the beans” on Ms. Cruz, apparently referring to an episode of depression [source] Condemnation was unanimous, even from the right. [source] [source] [source] [source]