Press Releases: National Council to Super Committee: Preserve Medicaid
For more information, contact Heather Cobb, HeatherC@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457, ext. 277
Program cuts would devastate millions of our most vulnerable citizens, and further harm the 7.6 million additional Americans who have relied on this safety net since the recession began
Washington, DC, (November 9, 2011) — The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council), the nation’s voice for mental health and addictions treatment organizations, issued a letter to Representative Jeb Hensarling and Senator Patty Murray, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “Super Committee,” with 1,735 signatures from individuals and organizations, asking that the Super Committee preserve Medicaid during upcoming negotiations to find savings in the federal budget.
Millions of Americans – including the working poor, people with disabilities, and low-income children and seniors – rely on Medicaid for vital healthcare. Since the start of the recession in 2007, an influx of 7.6 million has also fallen into the healthcare safety net as they weather this economic storm.
“Medicaid is a lifeline for millions, and any cuts or reforms have enormous impact on individuals’ health, harming the elderly, the sick, the poor, and our children,” said Linda Rosenberg, MSW, president and CEO of the National Council. “The program buffers the effects of a major recession and gives the most vulnerable in our nation access to healthcare. How can we deny them that?”
Policymakers from both sides of the aisle have proposed plans to cut, restructure, or implement a “blended” federal-state matching rate in Medicaid this year. The National Council seeks to head off such proposals, which could:
- Cause vulnerable Americans to lose access to vital healthcare.
- Puncture the nation’s behavioral health safety net by cutting funding for treatment and services.
- Lead many community behavioral health organizations to shut their doors, or scale back services.
- Fuel local unemployment as community healthcare agencies are forced to cut jobs.
- Shift costs to the states, which already struggle with severe budget shortfalls in the wake of the recession.
“Legislators face tough decisions as they look for $1 trillion in cuts,” continued Rosenberg. “However, Medicaid’s relevance to our nation’s state of health is too great to jeopardize by cuts or other reforms.”
For more information on Medicaid and behavioral health, visit www.thenationalcouncil.org/cs/public_policy/resources_and_issues/medicaid.
The National Council is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,950 community healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addiction disorders to nearly 6 million adults, children and families in communities across the country. Learn more at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.