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Arizona's Medicaid Restoration will Cover 49,000 People Living with Mental Illness; Rejection Has $10 Billion Opportunity Cost

TUCSON, Ariz., May 24, 2013 -- Forty-nine thousand—12 percent—of  currently uninsured adults in Arizona who would receive health care coverage through Medicaid restoration are living with mental illness, according to a national report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) scheduled for official release on May 30.

Copies of the report have been released early to Arizona media without restriction because of a possible vote coming sooner in the state legislature.

"All Arizona legislators need to closely consider the mental health aspects of the restoration," said H. Clark Romans , executive director of NAMI Southern Arizona. "Today more than ever before, people are painfully aware of the need for mental health care."

"The legislature must not abandon people living with mental illness who need help. The cost is too high."

"Medicaid restoration in Arizona will be a big step forward. It will help save lives. People will get the treatment they need when they need it. Mental health problems will be identified and addressed sooner rather than later."

NAMI's national report includes an estimate of the amount of money that Arizona stand to lose without Medicaid restoration. Under the restoration, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost through 2016. By 2020, the federal share will decrease to 90 percent, with the state being responsible for 10 percent.

"For Arizona, the restoration is worth $10 billion in federal dollars over 10 years," Romans said. "The money will help strengthen the state's mental health care coverage as well as health care overall. Without it, taxpayers will continue to see costs shifted to emergency rooms, law enforcement, courts, jails, broken families and broken lives."


About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.

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