Nevada’s Short Term Memory Loss

Budget Cut Scissors** Nevada’s not-very-neighborly exportation solution to mental health care case loads continues to raise hackles in California — this time from northern Nevada health care facilities. [full story RGJ] On the sunny side of this story — the state board of examiners has approved additional funding for mental health care services, and the legislature has fast tracked $2.1 million for upgrades. [NewsObs]  It’s not like we weren’t warned in November, 2011:

“States such as California, Illinois, Nevada and South Carolina, which made devastating cuts to mental health services previously, have made further cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2012, putting tens of thousands of citizens at great risk. States have cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from their state mental health agency budgets for mental health services since FY2009, a period during which demand for such services increased significantly. These cuts translate into loss of vital services such as housing, Assertive Community Treatment, access to psychiatric medications and crisis services.”  [NAMI]

** And, when a Nevada Congressman (Joe Heck R-NV3) is confronted by a very real Nevada small business owner who finds that the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and Patients Bill of Rights are helping his small business, what happens?  The Nevada Progressive documents his fumbling “GOP didn’t have a chance to offer alternatives” — They did offer an alternative! In November 2009 the Republicans offered a 219 page health care bill:

“The bill’s general approach expands state-based high-risk insurance pools for Americans with pre-existing health problems, permits trade associations to organize to purchase group insurance, imposes caps on medical liability lawsuits and allows health insurance companies to sell policies across state lines.” [Kaiser News]

The bill didn’t gather enough support to pass.  Next question.

** While we’re on the topic — the provisions of the ACA (Obamacare) will extend health insurance coverage for treating mental illness:

“The Affordable Care Act builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to extend federal parity protections to 62 million Americans. The parity law aims to ensure that when coverage for mental health and substance use conditions is provided, it is generally comparable to coverage for medical and surgical care. The Affordable Care Act builds on the parity law by requiring coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits for millions of Americans in the individual and small group markets who currently lack these benefits, and expanding parity requirements to apply to millions of Americans whose coverage did not previously comply with those requirements.”  [ASPE]

This must have been in one of those pages Representative Heck didn’t get around to reading?


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