Snyder eyes mental health makeover

Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to fill the gaps of Michigan's mental health care system might lie in his ability to convince lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to expand Medicaid to provide 500,000 Michigan residents with coverage under the federal Affordable Health Care Act.
AP Wire
Jan 27, 2013

 

Snyder, a Republican, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that it would "actually expand mental health coverage significantly" and that it is "one of the factors" he is "taking into account." Snyder said he will "make that call" during his budget presentation Feb. 7.

Last June's Supreme Court decision on the federal health care law gave states the power to choose whether to opt into the Medicaid expansion. But Republicans in Michigan, who control the legislature, remain hesitant to use that power.

Snyder's decision will come at the same time he is expected to propose new programs and call for increased funding for mental health care. Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman said he expects Snyder to recommend about $5 million more toward mental health in the next month's budget proposal to create new programs aimed primarily at early intervention for youth.

Snyder asked the MDCH to review the mental health care system last month after he vetoed a bill that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons in public places like churches and schools, just days after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Snyder is likely to receive backlash from GOP lawmakers if he chooses to go through with the Medicaid expansion. Sen. Bruce Caswell, a Hillsdale Republican, introduced a bill last week that would prohibit Michigan from expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Republicans are hesitant to move forward before fully understanding the long-term effects of the decision, said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Majority leader Jase Bolger. "There is no guarantee that the federal government won't change its mind and provide less funding at some point," Adler said.

Under the federal health care law, a family of four with an income of $31,809 or less in 2012 would become eligible for Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The federal government would provide Michigan with the full cost of coverage through 2016, eventually dropping down to a 90 percent share.

Snyder's decision to expand Medicaid would "be a wonderful first step in his commitment" toward improving mental health, said Malisa Pearson, executive director of the Association for Children's Mental Health.

With the closure of approximately 70 percent of state psychiatric hospitals since the mid-1980s, the bulk of services are now provided by the state's 46 Community Mental Health boards. But advocates say budget cuts have left the system underfunded. The state cut non-Medicaid mental health funding by about $44 million between fiscal years 2007 and 2012.

At the same time, funding for mental health services for those who do qualify for Medicaid has grown. Haveman said the state has increased Medicaid mental health funding to account for a growing number of Michigan residents who qualify for Medicaid.

But historically about half the people who approach mental health services do not have continuous Medicaid eligibility, Reinstein said.

In the face of budget cuts, Community Mental Health centers have been forced to prioritize and can often serve only those with severe mental illnesses, said Michael Vizena, executive director of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards. People who have less severe forms of mental illness but who are not Medicaid eligible "very often have been turned away and put on waiting lists," he said.

Many of the people are low-income and would become eligible for Medicaid if Michigan chooses to opt into the expansion, he said.

Pearson, whose now 17-year-old son has been in and out of Michigan's mental health system since the age of 3, said many families who aren't eligible for Medicaid "simply can't afford the hundreds of dollars an hour to take their children to get services."

Advocates applaud Snyder's recent call to improve the mental health system as the first step in the right direction.

Haveman said the new programs Snyder is expected to introduce will include mental health first aid training in professions like teachers and physicians who often come in contact with children and young adults.

The training "will go through a whole series of how to understand the mentally ill person," Haveman said. Participants will also be educated about the services available in the community so if someone identifies a person in need of help they can "point them in the right direction," he said.

Comments

maria

Governor making proposals to put more people into mental health treatment (with or without abiding by the Doctrine of Informed Consent, with or without forcing them via estate court hearings e.g. "certifying" that targets are mentally ill and forcing them to take harmful psychotropic drugs and be subjected to appointments (takes time from work) and treatments $$$ etc.), expanding the numbers subjected to that experimental treatment. Is he, like leftist Ted/Edward M. Kennedy who promoted that the imaginary concept of mental illness be covered in health care at parity with actual medical maladies of the unfortunate to be diagnosed with such, invested in psychotropic drug manufacturers here and abroad, and mental health centers and clinics, hoping to get rich in the largest drug consuming country in the world? Do remember that per international treaties at the end of World War II that mental institutions, wards, treatments etc. be discontinued, that reiterated by Executive Orders of President John F. Kennedy (no relation to Joe and Rose Kennedy of media fame who periodically kidnapped him and Rosemary Kennedy and concealed them in the Kennedy moniker) and President Ronald Reagan. Per demands, President Kennedy did nothing about businesses called community mental health centers, but those centers were not supposed to provide invasive treatments (drugs, surgery, electro-shock--tho that is still used to try for nerve regeneration, etc.)and the persons using community mental health centers had to be there completely voluntarily. That means weaponized police and judges could not send people to mental health places and could not force them to be subjected to treatments or re-education.; that also means that the police could not write false reports and file false charges as they still do in some places in the US (including where she is--lots of reports to the Feds about that and the pattern befalling the hapless that they reported still happens) to land a target before a judge who will then say if you "voluntarily" go to a mental health facility and be subjected to treatments the false charge will be dropped--that senario puts target in position of being under duress. Many politicians are hoping to get lots of money from expanding the number of people forced to take psychiatric treatments. Mental illness is a concept (not a person, place, or thing) and mental illness is the construct of the imagination of person/s making allegations of mental illness. Mental illness does not exist. Been reading up about one of the populary described drugs that Senator Ted/Edward Kennedy is invested in and the FDa in a 2003 letter has declared it causes premature death,but it is still on the market. When President Kennedy's actual daughter was working with some Europeans and in contact with then-Commissioners of the FDA to remove that particular drug developed by Europeans connected to the Nazis, she was seriously injured; the only one of the group who was injured, and so it became revealed that the Kennedys (excluding President Kennedy and his actual daughter not going by the name Caroline Kennedy) and other politicians were expecting to make a lot of money promoting mental illness--a la the Nazis and Communists, what the US Federal government calls "mental defectives" (and probably some state statutes, too)--mentall ill, mentally incapacited, naturally or by injury sustained, mentally slow, little boys who can't sit still in their begining years at school, etc.--being the first among which community organizers and activists got community members consent to do in and steal their possessions/property, if any, during the period of hyperinflation and mass unemployment in Germany prior to World War II and on wards. You may have read about President John F. Kennedy's Air Force One leather jacket and a photo of President Kennedy with President Harry S Truman. President John F. Kennedy expressed a preference that if that jacket that ended up missing from the back of a chair was ever found that it, along with that photograph be given to the White House for their collection of presidential artifacts and relics, of which for the Administration of John F. Kennedy includes the tiny bulletproof vest for his actual daughter that she had occasion to wear and a tiny cow-girl style 2-piece skirt outfit with fringe. When in Manhattan, New York and London, England, she is a banker (not engaged in shadow banking, a subject that will be discussed at the upcoming G8 meeting in Russia); at the moment she is an inactive banker. Good luck in resolving your unemployment situation. Where she is about 90% of the elementary school children are eligible for the Federal free lunch program and real estate people are trying to raise housing costs to that similar in Manhattan, though there is one company interested in providing affordable housing for workers to use their phrasing near the new electric commuter rail line that the Feds insisted be built in the area against the wishes of local activists. For about the first decade public transportation became available in that area, i used to be a lot of glum sad sacks taking public transporation in the area (it not being an urban center like Manhattan or London where most of the public usually use public transportation) but nowadays it is a good cross section, the rail line and the nearby bus stop being especially busy near the community college. About 50% of Americans do not pay taxes--must be a lot of people who do not work much or who are marginalized and/or at low pay; it is a very difficult feat to bring about a 0 tax liability by taking advantage of tax deductions and especially difficult to achieve that feat every year.

LessThanAmused

Geez Louise....you ever hear of paragraphs??

Zegota

Remember taxpayers that this so called gift from the federal government is not free, after a set limit of time I believe it is ten years, the taxpayers of Michigan must replace these federal funds that will be paying for this expansion.
So I hope that all taxpayers across the country and our children enjoy the expansion of entitlements our federal government is now forcing upon the people. Remember that these gifts are not free, cuts in Medicare and increase premiums for many, are now the norm.
Maybe those who are today hard working and motivated should just stop and join the band wagon of entitlements, what would happen if the taxpayers say enough is enough.
Please look beyond the federal handouts and free gifts from the present administration, for these costs just might be more then the nation can handle. Remember a Nation divided cannot and will not stand?
God Bless the Constitution.

 

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