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LMHAS
April 16, 2010 2:13 PM
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Legislative Update 2010

Serious cuts to mental health care are on the table just as Connecticut is poised to receive $66 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) specifically intended to prevent cuts to our state's Medicaid programs and to protect drug coverage for people on Medicare and Medicaid (people who are "dually eligible").Despite multiple cuts that have already begun to affect low-income older adults and people with disabilities, further cuts are being proposed in the Governor's recent Deficit Mitigation and mid-term budget proposals.

Some of the recent cuts impacting low-income people with mental illness, older adults and people with other disabilities include new co-pays for dually eligible people on Medicare Part D (up to $15 per month), restrictions on psychiatirc medications for people receiving drug coverage through Medicaid or SAGA, and the elimination of drug coverage for medications not on a person's private Medicare Part D plan. (The state used to pick up the cost of these drugs for people who also have Medicaid or CONNPACE.)

Additional cuts proposed include increasing co-pays for those who are dually eligible to $20 per month, co-pays for the entire Medicaid population, and removing the hard-won protection that the Legislature just put in place for people on Medicaid and SAGA who are stable on psychiatric medications.This protection would have exempted from prior authorization any mental health related prescription that had been filled or re-filled in the last 12 months.

All of these cuts have been proven to result in increased emergency care and medication disruptions and could wind up costing the state significantly more.

Additionally, the proposed cuts could easily be off-set by utilizing the ARRA funds for their intended purpose:  to preserve Medicaid and medication coverage for low-income citizens. The Federal Government recognizes the importance of protecting Medicaid. Connecticut must ensure that these funds are used to protect low-income people as well as Connecticut's bottom line. Please call your legislators and tell them to:  "Preserve Medicaid and access to medications by using the $66 million in ARRA funds as intended."   

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