Friday, April 7, 2017

Walker's Mental Health Funding Scam!

Republicans rule by anecdotes and party purity.

Filled with hypocrisy and contradictions, that style of government is constantly running into the cold hard facts of life. Like mental health. Sure funding for mental health went up:
PolitiFact: Walker ... raised spending on mental health services by $29 million in his 2013-’15 state budget … the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirmed largest increase in at least 25 years.
But of course that's not the whole story. What about boosting Medicaid reimbursements to attract mental health providers, instead of providing some of the lowest rates in the nation?
Democratic state senator Jon Erpenbach pressed Scott Walker's top health official last week to support hiking Medicaid reimbursement rates for mental health providers in the state. Boosting Medicaid rates was identified by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin's Kids in Crisis series as a method to improve a statewide shortage of mental health providers.
Don't look at Me, I'm only the Secretary of Health Services: The video below is an example of Walker's placement of department heads who like collecting a government paycheck, but don't believe strong enough in their department to advocate for the needy. This what you call health care rationing, something Republicans keep warning us about but do automatically under the guise of "we have to balance what's important..." or "we have to take a long look at..." mumbo jumbo:
Sec. Seemeyer: "Folks have to balance, what's most important, but we've been trying to look at some of the mental health rates and see if there's something we can do about it."

Sen. Erpenbach: "I seem to remember in your opening remarks we have a surplus of how much?"

Sec. Seemeyer: "Which we returned to the general fund."

Sen. Erpnebach: "How much is the surplus?"

Sec. Seemeyer: "About $330 million, which we returned to the general fund."

Sen. Erpbenbach: "Would it have been wise to keep some of that money and increase reimbursement rates?"

Sec. Seemeyer: "I think where the money is spent resides right here in the governors office, so...."

Sen. Erpenbach: "Do you support increasing the reimbursement rates for mental health providers?"

Sec. Seemeyer: "I think we really need to look at it..."
A real advocate for the mentally ill. So we're balancing the general fund by taking $330 million away from mental health. Anyone else tired of the "we really need to look at it" BS (think highway funding).

Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer repeatedly ducked requests to state a position on hiking Wisconsin's rates, which are among the lowest in the nation. Then she deferred rate hike decisions to state lawmakers. 

A hike in Medicaid reimbursement rates for mental health providers wasn't included in Walker's proposed state budget this year, and legislative leaders haven't been confident about boosting rates, citing competing budget priorities.

Rep. Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah, asked if the state could boost Medicaid reimbursement rates specifically for mental health services in schools or for children. Seemeyer said she wasn't sure and then said, “I think it probably would be” possible.

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