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Senate plan includes big cuts to mental health & substance abuse programs

Programs that serve mentally ill patients or addicts could see their state funding zeroed out this year under a Senate budget proposal.

The proposal would slash overall state spending on adult mental health and substances abuse treatment by about 40 percent, or $87 million.

The cuts would include eliminating state support for some programs entirely — including potentially Northside Mental Health Center in Tampa and Miami Behavioral Health Center.

It's not that alcoholics, drug addicts or the mentally ill don't need the help, said Sen. Joe Negron, the Stuart Republican in charge of the Senate's health care budget. But Negron said he'd rather make these cuts than reduce spending on programs for the disabled, the elderly and children.

The Senate proposal differs greatly from the budget passed last week in the House, which called for an additional $32 million in treatment funds. The Senate plan has been criticized by both providers, who stand to lose millions in state funding, as well as law enforcement officials who warn there will be a trickle-down effect that could drain state resources.

"We know that if we don't get it (help), they'll be in our jail and they'll be victimizing our constituents," said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, who serves as the Florida Sheriffs Association's legislative chair.

Read more here.

Comments

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LeoBCrutcher

I have read somewhere on the news that something like "Penny Medical" is offering lowest health insurance rate for low and middle income families so search online and find them.

debbie

And, while making this cuts, in essence telling these people that they're not important, they scream at our wonderful President for engaging in "class warfare." What terrible hypocrites these Republicans are.

Alfie Morley

This is a tough situation - as there is no deficit of those that that require more treatment payment options for behavoiral health issues. Specifically, what cuts would be made? Would this affect private treatment centers? Take a look at any treatment center's payment options. There are several federal and state funded options (I looked at Brookhaven behavioral health treatment center: http://www.brookhavenhospital.com/treatment-payment-options/). Between Medicare, Tricare, VA and 'other government' funding etc... it seems like there are a lot of government funding channels. This article mentions "The cuts would include eliminating state support for some programs entirely..." Guess I'm just wondering which programs we're talking about.

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