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Call Now to Preserve Vital Funding for State and Local Mental Health Services

June 9, 2010

This week, The Senate will begin work on a new version of the Jobs and Tax Extenders legislative package that passed the House of May 28.  The bill, known as the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (HR 4213), includes a provision that would 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. The extended Medicaid FMAP was removed from the House bill, so getting it passed in the Senate is of particular importance. 

The Senate bill also includes $1.065 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), a critical investment in development of rental housing for extremely low-income households (including people with serious mental illness living on SSI). 

Take Action

Call your Senators now to support restoration of Medicaid FMAP funds into the Jobs and Tax Extenders Package.  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.  Or, you can e-mail a message to your Senators.

Urge your Senators to support the new version of HR 4213 and not to remove or weaken the Medicaid FMAP extension.
 
Background

The American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act (HR 4213) includes dozens of "must pass" provisions that will extend expiring tax breaks, avoid deep cuts in physician payment rates under Medicare and extend unemployment benefits in the current economic downturn and provide assistance to states to avoid cuts in health care and education.

Of particular concern to NAMI are two provisions in the package that will help avoid additional cuts to Medicaid-funded mental health services and invest more than $1 billion in development of affordable rental housing targeted to individuals with extremely low incomes, including people with mental illness living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

1. Extended Medicaid FMAP Funding – The new Senate version of HR 4213 includes $26 billion to extend the current higher federal match for state Medicaid programs that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009.  This higher federal Medicaid match rate (known as FMAP) is set to expire at the end of 2010.  It is critical for Congress to extend the higher FMAP for states through June 2011.  Securing these funds now will help avoid further deep cuts to mental illness treatment and support services financed by Medicaid.  As many as 30 states have already passed budgets for 2011 that assume extended higher FMAP.  If Congress fails to act, these states will be forced to make additional cuts to human service programs including mental health services.  Read a full analysis of the impact of failing to extend Medicaid FMAP. 

2. National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) Investment - HR 4213 includes $1.065 billion for initial capitalization of the NHTF, a program authorized by Congress in 2008 to invest in the development of rental housing targeted to households with extremely low incomes, including non-elderly adults living on SSI.  This provision of $1.065 billion will be allocated to states by formula and includes funding for capital and project-based rent subsidies to ensure that rents are affordable to people living on SSI.  More information on the NHTF and efforts to secure this initial capitalization is available through the NLIHC website.


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