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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

People insured with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program aren't using mental health care services at the same rate as the rest of the population, new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show.

Why it matters: Virtual mental health visits skyrocketed last year, but vulnerable populations went with out treatment during a time period when stress, substance abuse, anxiety and depression were at all-time highs.

By the numbers: Tens of millions of people under Medicaid and CHIP did without mental health services in 2020 compared to 2019.

  • The new CMS report, which recorded primary, preventative and mental health care visits between March and October 2o2o, shows a 34% drop in the number of mental health services for children 19 and younger, compared to the same time period in 2019.
  • Mental health services from adults aged 19 to 64 declined 22%.

The big picture: Public health officials, schools and the White House have been sounding alarms on the worsening mental illness and addiction crisis, particularly among young people, and the societal effects long-term.

  • In March, the Biden administration said it would funnel $2.5 billion to address mental health and substance abuse in the U.S.

What they’re saying: “This new data provides a window into the impacts of the pandemic for marginalized communities – particularly children and other vulnerable people – and is critical as we work towards meeting the needs of those that rely on Medicaid and CHIP,” CMS acting administrator Liz Richter said in a statement.

  • “While we’re encouraged that people are accessing some health care services at pre-pandemic levels, there is work to do to connect people to mental health care services," she said.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 22, 2021 - Health

Kentucky governor loses COVID emergency powers legal challenge

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear during an April press conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Saturday ordered a lower court to dissolve an injunction that had prevented Republican-backed legislation from limiting the executive authority of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Beshear has imposed emergency health measures including an indoor mask mandate for K-12 schools, child care and pre-kindergartens, as cases surge across the state. The ruling paves the way for the Republican-led legislature to enact legislation curbing his emergency powers.

Updated Aug 23, 2021 - Health

Jesse and Jacqueline Jackson "responding positively" to COVID treatment

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Jacqueline Jackson at a 2018 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation event in Washington, D.C. Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline Jackson, were "responding positively" to treatment Sunday — one day after being hospitalized with COVID-19, their son said.

Details: Physicians at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago were "carefully monitoring" the 79-year-old civil rights leader and Jacqueline Jackson "especially because of their ages," said Jonathan Jackson in a statement Sunday.