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Evers to Propose $150 Million for Mental Health; Includes $55 Million for Student Mental Health

By John Forester | February 10, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers today announced his budget will propose investing $150 million in mental health initiatives in addition to again seeking legislative approval to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

The $150 million includes $55 million for student mental health and expanding a program designed to address child psychiatry shortages. Also, $40 million would go to boost access to outpatient mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and services for adolescents and children.

Evers said the pandemic has underscored the need for affordable, accessible mental health services.

“Mental and behavioral healthcare is healthcare. Period. From our kids to our farmers, to veterans and those working to overcome substance use disorders, mental health support must be a priority for the health, safety, and well-being of our state,” said Evers, who introduces his two-year spending plan Tuesday.

The proposed investments also include $25 million to address substance abuse, including opioids, with another $25 million to overhaul the state’s crisis intervention and emergency detention system. That includes funding for regional crisis centers.

Two years ago, Republicans rejected Evers’ call to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. For this budget, the Department of Health Service built its proposal around accepting the federal money. The agency sought $597 million more to support the Medical Assistance program. But the administration noted in the fall rejecting the proposed expansion under Obamacare would add another $588 million in costs to the state.

In today’s announcement, the guv estimated the move would save Wisconsin $634 million over the biennium.

Wisconsin is one of a dozen states that hasn’t implemented the federal expansion.

See the release here.

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