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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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House Set to Vote on Changes to Medicaid

November 8, 2005

Later this week the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a $53.9 billion deficit reduction package that includes at least $10 billion in reductions to Medicaid, including new authority for states to require higher cost sharing and premiums from beneficiaries.  NAMI is very concerned that the changes proposed in the House bill could result in disruption of services for both optional and mandatory Medicaid recipients with mental illnesses.

Action Needed

Advocates are urged to contact their House member and urge opposition to provisions in the "budget reconciliation package" that would adversely impact children and adults on Medicaid living with severe mental illness.  Of most concern to NAMI are the following:

  • A House proposal that would allow states to require beneficiaries (including adults with mental illness on SSI) to pay higher cost sharing (co-pays) for services, including “non-preferred” prescription medications and non-emergency services delivered in emergency rooms;
  • A House proposal that would allow states to require certain beneficiaries (those above 100% of poverty) to pay higher enrollment premiums; and
  • A House proposal that would permit states to offer alternative benefit packages to Medicaid eligible populations that might exclude mental illness treatment and community supports. 

In addition, NAMI supports a provision in the House bill that would direct states to invest in evidence-based disease management programs for the prescribing of anti-psychotics and anti-depressants as an alternative to prior authorization requirements (see details on the Buyer Amendment below).

All House members can be reached in Washington by calling 202-224-3121 (long distance charges apply) or in their local district office (through the Blue Pages in your local phone book).  Phone numbers for members of Congress can also be found through www.congress.org

Advocates are also encouraged to send e-mails.  Enter your zip code below to access a sample letter on this issue and a list of your representatives to contact now.  If you do not see the box for entering your zip code, click here Make sure to include your local street address in any e-mail message. 

Click here to view a background paper on the separate House and Senate Medicaid proposals


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