GOP Govs Point To Medicaid Flexibility As Means To Reduce Spending
Kaiser Health News.jpg 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. []
Health Industry Could Feel Pinch, Then Pain From Default
Kaiser Health News.jpg 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. []
Budget passions, decisions delayed
The stalemate continues and a sample of tweets and clips show the frustration of voters. []
Study Details How GOP Budget Plan Would Cut States' Medicaid Funding
Kaiser Health News.jpg 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. []
Emergency Rooms Provide Care Of Last Resort For Mentally Ill
A collaboration between NPR and Kaiser Health News describes the crippling impact for people in psychiatric crisis while they languish in emergency rooms -- sometimes for up to a week -- while budgets cut services in their local communities. []
Reactions to Ryan's proposal
. . .fast and furious []
CBO: Seniors Would Pay Much More For Medicare Under Ryan Plan
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. []
States' Mental Health Budgets Fall In Recession
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. []
House votes drastic cuts to mental health
Efforts to keep the government afloat led to the Republican controlled House to propose a bill rolling back or canceling appropriations for children, the elderly and people with disabilities including a mental illness or addictive disorder. []
Harvey Rosenthal writes about improving behavioral health care
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... []
Deep Medicaid cuts for mental health
Doctors, patients, nursing homes, the young, the elderly, and diabetics who already own one pair of shoes will take hits from Medicaid cuts. []
Fighting for last place: Florida, Texas, New Mexico
Recognition that there's a dearth of spending for mental health is entering politics this year as candidates on the Right and the Left begin to ask why state budgets are spending more on prisons than treatments. . . []
House Approves State Aid Package, Including $16 Billion In Federal Medicaid Assistance
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. . . []
As economy takes toll, mental health budgets shrink
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. . . []
New York and Calif. big losers
One of the consequences of the Senate's failure to pass an extension of unemployment insurance is the cost to Medicaid in each state. Of the $15 billion at stake, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, California stands to loose $1.9 billion and New York $2.2 billion. Every state will lose something, and the range is $22 million for Wyoming to the high in New York. To see the full table, click here. []
Budget cuts could devastate services
protest3.jpgNon-profit agencies and the 600,000 people with psychiatric disabilities for whom they provide services, are at risk in New York State where proposals to trim $775 million for health were announced by the governor's office. A coalition of service providers and advocates called attention to the likely, crippling consequences. []
Mental health faces cuts in Britrain's National Health Service
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Britain's National Health Service faces financial pressures, perhaps a 4 to 5 percent cut, in funding mental health programs including psychotherapy. Political parties are at least campaigning on mental health services. . . []
Need for community mental health services has grown 51% during the recession.
The National Association of State Mental Health Directors Research Institute conducted a survey of the impact of budget shortfalls on state spending for mental health. The report indicates severe cuts in all but three states amounting to $1.82 billion between 2009 and 2011. To read more about threats to services and programs, including crisis intervention, staffing reductions, loss of acute beds for children and adults. Read more from The Impact of the State Fiscal Crisis on the Public Mental Health... []
State news: Florida, Illinois, MInnesota
Illinois was ordered ordered to move people out of a state hospitals and nursing homes and into the community by the end of the year. A similar decision was made in New York. According to the the Chicago Sun Times. Illinois spends more to keep adults in institutions than any other state. . . []
Clubhouses spared in Mass.
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In the last month, hundreds of advocates rallied, and state legislators appealed to the governor, to spare Mass. clubhouses from the budget ax. "Our demonstrators were heard," said a spokesperson . . . []
Cal. cuts endanger people with mental illness
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"There is not enough space in this newspaper to describe the many ways in which people with mental illness are treated as second-class citizens," writes Nathan Fairman, an ER doctor, . . . []
Unions sue for mental health services in D.C.
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In Washington, D.C., unions are suing the Department of Mental Health where budget, not quality concerns, have led to outsourcing mental health services despite insufficient staff to absorb the need. . . []

Cuts threaten chaos in Calif.
Closing a California deficit now estimated at $24 billion has led to charges that the governor is using nickle and dime strategies to avoid raising taxes to plug holes and has failed to lead during a growing fiscal crisis. Among the cuts to health care the governor has proposed: mental health ($92 million); AIDS reduction program ($55 million), and eliminating health care to 1 million poor children that will save the state $247.8 million. But it will lose nearly three... []
A little money helps a lot of kids
Numbers do not tell the story about real lives affected by budget cuts. Carla Lisio, clinical director at MHA of Westchester (New York) describes a low-cost, high-impact program for kids which was eliminated when budget cuts were imposed on this New York agency. []
Budget debate consumes Calif.
An intense campaign is being pitched in California where voters will decide next week whether to take from children and people with a mental illness to plug a budget hole. The heat is turning high while local politicians appear on YouTube and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enumerates what will happen if the measures that were hammered out in a political deal should be voted down. Words like desperate, grim, and bleak convey the concern. Some are recommending splitting the ballot,... []

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