Wednesday, June 16, 2010

FMAP: Not an Insider's Game, Call the Senate Now

by Michael J. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director

These are dangerous times for children and adults with mental illness and their families.  The economic recession has already devastated services for persons of all ages with mental illnesses in communities across America.  Budget cuts continue threaten basic services and treatments.  Good programs and services that work to help people regain their lives are at risk.

This morning, as part of the overall jobs bill now pending in Congress, the U.S. Senate voted down a provision to extend each state's federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) through June 2011.

Without this extension, many states will very likely cut funding for Medicaid, which is the most important source of funding of public mental health services.  Millions of Americans rely on this system for their care.  They are our co-workers, our neighbors and they are us.

Please help change the Senate's mind. Call your Senators now and ask them to vote to extend “FMAP.” As part of the jobs bill (H.R. 4213).  All Senate offices can be reached toll-free by calling 877-210-5351 or 877-442-6801 or through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You can also send emails from here. Ask them not to pull the rug out from under state budgets that have already been deeply cut, thereby hurting people who live with mental illness.

5 comments:

Whippies said...

Hi,

I would like to thank NAMI for developing this blog. It is very important for NAMI members to feel connected and heard at the national level. Hopefully, many good ideas and developments can come from these interactions.

I did email my Senator regarding the U.S. Senate voting down a provision to extend each state's federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) through June 2011. This would be devastating for individuals in the mental health community to lose their medicaid benefits. I hope others will send a short quick email or call.

Would you please comment about the following legislation from 2009?
I have recently learned of the "ENHANCED Act" from 2009 which was introduced by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and John Kerry (D-Mass.). Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) is also a co-sponsor. This bill establishes 30 national centers of excellence for the treatment of bipolar and depression. The legislation is based on efforts catalyzed by the University of Michigan Depression Center with 15 other leading academic medical centers across the nation. Joining together, these universities created a network of depression centers positioned to take academic research and translate it into practice, standardize diagnoses, treat early and more effectively, and prevent recurrences of depression and bipolar disorders.

I was reviewing a meeting this legislation was discussed and the only mental health organization there to comment regarding it was Mental Health America.

Was NAMI aware of this legislation or did they support it? Other disease states less common than mental health have Medical Centers of Excellence. These centers are greatly needed for research and treatment.
Would NAMI support trying to pass this Act now? I am still in the process of trying to reach these Senators to see where this act is now.
I realize NAMI is a great supporter of research so this Enhance Act would seem appropriate for NAMI's agenda.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing your comments regarding this important and timely issue.

Whippies said...

I emailed my senator to extend each state's federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) through June 2011. I agree it is important for Medicaid programs to continuie so families with Mental Health needs can continue to get services.

On that same topic of services for mental health, I have recently learned that the bill, called the "ENHANCED Act of 2009" was introduced by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and John Kerry (D-Mass.). Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) is also a co-sponsor. This bill establishes 30 national centers of excellence for the treatment of bipolar and depression.
The Act went to US SENATE COmittee on Health Education Labor and Pensions. I can not find where the Act went from there. I have written Senator Kerry.
Does NAMI have any strategies to support this Act and follow it?
This is extremely important Act and we can not allow it to disappear.
NAMI needs to respond to this inquiry. Are there any plans for the NAMI yearly meeting in Washington DC to further this initiative?

activist5150 said...

I agree 100%. I am certainly directly affected by this non-action. I depend on medicaid and unemployment. What are our senators thinking? Republicans (elitists) need to stop being greedy and start being empathetic. What is our country coming to? Do we collectively have a heart any more? I am not sure.

Whippies said...

Sorry my first blog was posted twice.

I wanted to add to my first blog that I have learned that the ENHANCED Act is now part of the LAW known as Health Care Reform, but much more needs to be done. Appropriations are needed, so our efforts have not ended.

So how will NAMI support this important legislation? As a member I want to be updated and know how I can best help this cause.

Thank you.

Contributors: said...

Thanks for the concerned comments. NAMI is very aware of the ENHANCE Act and sent a letter of support on the issue.