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States in Crisis:
The Grassroots Response

California

Text of Letter from NAMI California to Elected Officials Protesting Proposed Budget Cuts and Medi-Cal Reporting Requirements
(May 2002)

Below is the text of a letter prepared by NAMI California and sent to all state Senators and Assembly Members. NAMI members and all Californians who care about the mentally ill are encouraged to write contact your elected officials, especially the Senate and Assembly Leadership below, and let them hear your voice in protest to these proposals (Note: numbers below are FAX number, not voice telephone numbers).


The Honorable ____________
State Capitol, Room ________
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Assemblymember/Senator _________ :

The families and consumers of NAMI California respectfully request that you do not support the Governor's Budget Revision that seeks a record cut in mental health funding.

Currently only one out of every two people with mental illness in California is receiving the services needed to recover from brain disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The mental health system has been underfunded for several decades. The proposed budget cuts will only accelerate this inequity and put more people with mental illness on to the streets and into juvenile justice programs, jails and prisons.

The cuts of nearly $100 million not only are devastating in dollar amounts but decimate cost effective programs which offset savings in other areas such as criminal justice, special education, out of home placement, and other medical health care. The state of California will not save any money by cutting nearly $100 million from its mental health programs; it will create a crisis that has draconian effects on other systems throughout the government.

NAMI California is especially concerned about the proposal to require Medi-Cal Quarterly Status Reports. People who are cognitively impaired, many of whom do not have case managers to help them, will have an especially difficult time complying this requirement. What will happen is that more people will drop from the Medi-Cal rolls simply because they are unable to comply with the paperwork every three months. It is our belief that people with mental illness, who are on SSI and thus proven to be disabled, should be exempt from quarterly reporting. If this proposal passes, more and more people with mental illness will become effectively uninsured and needing the services proposed to be cut through reductions in the Adult System of Care and AB 34 programs. It is a sure-fire transition from treatment to the criminal justice system for many.

We recognize the horrible dilemma the State of California is in right now and realize that hard decisions must be made. However, cutting mental health programs and putting bureaucratic barriers in the way of access to treatment will only cost the state more in the terms of criminal justice, juvenile justice and other societal costs that are by-products of untreated mental illness.

Please reject the cuts to the mental health system and especially reject the requirement of quarterly reporting for Medi-cal recipients.

Sincerely, Grace McAndrew
Executive Director
NAMI-California


Leadership Fax Number
Senate President pro Tem John Burton916/445-4722
Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte916/445-3688
Budget Committee Chair, Steve Peace916/327-3522
Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson916/319-2147
Assembly Minority Leader Dave Cox916/319-2105


Joint Assembly/Senate Budget CommitteeFax Number
Senator Dick Ackerman916/445-9754
Senator Wes Chesbro916/323-6958
Senator Steve Peace916/327-3522
Assemblymember John Campbell916/319-2170
Assemblymember Jenny Oropeza916/319-3508
Assemblymember Darrell Steinberg916/319-2109


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