Of the 32 million adults who stand to benefit from the new coverage they will receive from the Affordable Care Act, about one-third have a mental illness or substance use disorder. Ron Manderscheid, noted expert in this area, explains how the ACA will implement Health Exchanges to coordinate with Medicaid by working with states for enrollment. [Full Story]
Cuts to Medicaid are among the GOP's strategies for bringing their state budgets under control, according to a report issued by the Republican Governor's Association. But at what cost for the nation, as cuts fall on the backs of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and for whom the federal program has become a lifeline to treatment, rehab and recovery? Kaiser Health News has summarized coverage of this story. [Full Story]
Children with mental health problems, who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are at risk for the loss of these benefits. Kaiser Health News explains how access to these services which often provide turn-around opportunities, are threatened by backlash owing to reports of abuse in the system. [Full Story]
Unprecedented default would sorely affect people who depend on Medicaid or Medicare as a result of a disability or while in recovery from a mental illness. This article from Kaiser Health News explains some of the implications for states, hospitals, nursing homes, and individuals who depend on the reliability of government payments to avert disaster. [Full Story]
Under the Affordable Care Act programs to end smoking will be reimbursed under Medicaid.The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the costs to will be outweighed by savings in health costs plus additional savings coming from a healthier workforce. Download the announcement from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ... [Full Story]
The Ryan proposals Republicans endorsed for block grants that will change the current funding of Medicaid are estimated to cost states an average of one-third of their federal funding and seriously undermine the continuation of a safety-net for poor, uninsured and disabled people, according to an analysis of Kaiser Health News. [Full Story]
Republican plans to cut Medicare, and "scrap the health care law's Medicaid expansion," and cost more. An article on Kaiser Health News has analysis of the CBO report, with links and videos. [Full Story]
The fiscal crisis is falling especially hard on programs such as Medicaid that have become the first line of health care for people with a disabling mental illness or substance use disorder. Kaiser Health News surveys cuts states are making based on new studies by advocacy groups. [Full Story]
Medicaid, part of the social contract to make sure that people with health needs are not abandoned, has been discussed as a candidate for block grants to states. Proposals stem from a need to make spending more efficient and effective, and to curb entitlements. The implications for people with a psychiatric diagnosis, or other chronic health needs, could be profound. This article by Kaiser Health News outlines how the Republican party proposals for health and budget reforms enlist block grants, first used by Pres. Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. And what the political debate implies. [Full Story]
The following editorial originally appeared in the Albany Times Union on Feb. 22, and is reprinted with permission by Harvey Rosenthal. One of the most important considerations facing state budget makers this year lies in how to reduce costs and improve the care of "high cost, high needs" people with ongoing and serious mental health, substance use and medical conditions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is right to address concerns about both the cost -- these groups use 15 times the amount... [Full Story]
Some states have turned to managed care companies to provide home-based to reign in Medicaid costs. For some this might be advantageous. What will it mean for people in recovery from a mental illness for whom community-based services offers choices and opportunities for reintegration? Read the story from Kaiser Health News, and tell readers of MIWatch if this seems like a strategy that would be appropriate for people receiving Medicaid or Medicare for their psychiatric disability. [Full Story]
WIth 30.6 percent of the nation covered by Medicaid and Medicare programs, Donald Berwick is key to the success of the Affordable Health Act. That alone makes him central to reforms that will affect people with a behavioral health disorder whose life expectancy is a quarter-century less than the rest of the population. Peter Brown writes about how Berwick's achievements model new ways of thinking, that could be applied to improving behavioral health.
Kaiser Health News reports, "By a vote of 247 to 161, the House approved a $26 billion funding bill for states, which includes $16 billion to continue enhanced federal Medicaid funds due to expire at the end of the year as well as $10 billion in education funding. The measure will now be sent to the President for his signature."
States will have $16 billion to help with Medicaid payments in 2011. . . [Full Story]
Senators voted Thursday to give $26 billion in aid to states and schools, $16 billion of which will be directed to Medicaid programs around the nation as the House prepares to return during its recess to cast votes on the legislation. Read the round-up of stories originally published in Kaiser Health News . . .
Writing in Stateline.org, staff writer Christine Vestal assesses how states have met mental health budgets and what this means for people needing psychiatric services in today's fiscal crisis. "The drop-off is translating into a reduction in the number of psychiatric hospital beds, as well as fewer services for mental health emegencies and longer waiting lists for housing," says Vestal. . . [Full Story]