Feb 26, 2013
Governor Walker's Biennial Budget Bill: Impact on Mental Health
This February, Governor Walker released his biennial budget proposal. As mental health advocates, there are a few key parts of the budget that demand our attention and action:
$29 million in mental health care spending:
- $12.5 million for additional inpatient Forensic Treatment units at Mendota Health Institute
- $10.2 million for Comprehensive Community Services (CCS)
- $3.7 million for Coordinated Service Teams (CST)
- $1.3 million for Peer Run Respite Centers
- Create Office of Children’s Mental Health and provide $535,000 for children’s mental health services
- $524,000 in in-home counseling for children
This is great news for many people living with mental illness. However, it is important not to let this victory blind us from other aspects of the budget that affect people in need of mental health services.
Rejection of federal funds for BadgerCare expansion (through the Affordable Care Act). The Governor’s plan will instead:
- Implement a partial expansion: 82,000 childless adults will receive coverage
- To offset the partial expansion: 87,000 parents will be shifted from BadgerCare into a federally-established health insurance exchange, where they will be required to purchase private insurance.
By rejecting federal funds that would fill significant coverage gaps, the Governor’s budget reflects a shallow understanding of BadgerCare as a crucial means to affordable mental health care for Wisconsin residents.
As the Joint Finance Committee begins to hold public hearings on the budget, we need to offer our perspective as mental health consumers and advocates. You can find more information about the timeline and format of these hearings, as well as contact information for your legislators at: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Your voice matters!