FROM: Mark Reinstein, Mental Health Association in Michigan | 4.20.17
On April 18 and 19, The Michigan Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees for DHHS reported budget drafts for Fiscal Year-18.
On the issue of whether to privatize Medicaid mental health dollars by giving control of them to Medicaid HMOs, the House’s language on next steps for exploration and analysis was constructive and consistent with items in DHHS workgroup reports submitted to the Legislature. Advocacy voices with whom I’ve consulted do not have problems with what the House Subcommittee advanced.
The Senate was a different story. Its Subcommittee, in section 234, included a sentence that the Senate’s goal is to have Medicaid HMOs in control of all publicly funded mental health-related services and supports by 2020.
The next step in the Senate process will be the full Appropriations Committee, expected to meet April 25, 26 or 27. As soon as we know meeting details, we’ll get them out (you can also check for yourself by going to www.michiganlegislature.org and clicking “Committee Meetings”).
We encourage all who are opposed to the HMO money-and-power-grab to attend and fill out a testimony card indicating that you are opposed to SB 135 because of section 234. You can state on the card that you do or do not wish to speak. If you do, we cannot guarantee you’ll be called upon; that is out of our control. If you speak, the key message is as follows:
Since Feb. ’16 (when Gov. Snyder proposed transferring CMH Medicaid mental health money and clients to the HMOs), the state has conducted three major reviews of the issue. First was a Lt. Governor’s workgroup; then 45 affinity group sessions across the state last fall; then a DHHS workgroup that issued reports in Jan. and March of ’17. At each stage of review, the concept of Medicaid HMOs controlling all mental health-related services and supports in Michigan was thoroughly rejected. What the Senate Subcommittee did April 18 flies in the face of that; it was reckless, ill-advised and premature. The closing sentence in section 234 that established the goal of HMO control by 2020 should be deleted!
Of course, anyone may communicate a message opposing section 234 to your own State Senator.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our request.
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