Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bruce Rauner Wants to Make You Crazy

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner recently proposed his new plan for the Illinois state budget to cut mental health spending by nearly 15%, around $82 million. Rauner's proposal to cut $1.5 billion from Medicaid services has mental health advocated enraged. Alexa James, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Chicago is one of the many critics of this plan. She claims, "In the long run [cutting mental health program funding] is going to end up being more expensive. All we're going to see is an increase in ER visits and incarceration rates."

Mark Heyrman, a board member at Mental Health America of Illinois, agreed. Mark argued that because Medicaid distribution rates for providers (such as doctors and hospitals) that they are losing money on every client. He claimed, "All of the mental health providers are basically hanging on by a thread, and Rauner [has] proposed  in cuts to Medicaid. So it's disingenuous to say, 'Look, it's all going to be solved by Medicaid, but I'm going to cut $1.5 billion out of Medicaid.'"

Rauner's plan to cut mental health aide will lead to increased rates of violence, incarceration, and homelessness. It is true that Illinois is in need of budget cuts, with a deep state deficit, but mental health care is not the answer. Medicaid provides invaluable services to many Illinois community members, and therefore increased state revenues is one way to avoid such damaging budget cuts. Mental health care affects all aspects of our community and therefore it should be protected. 

For more information, check out this video from a mental health advocate rally against Rauner's proposal: