WASHINGTON (WDTN) – Time is running out for Congress to renew additional funding for mental health and substance abuse services across the country. But a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a plan to not only keep the doors open, but to expand services.
Opioid addiction kills more than a hundred Americans daily. Lawmakers from both parties are banding together to try and renew a federal program designed to help.
“There couldn’t be a bigger divide between republicans and democrats so when we get together it should get everybody’s attention,” says Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
A Medicaid program that in just two years has helped more than 400 thousand people across eight states access expanded mental health services is about to run out of money.
Mother of four Dea Duggin lives in New York and says Congress needs to act soon to save other lives.
“If these services are taken away, I’d be devasted with no direction in how to move forward. I can confidently say this clinic has saved my life,” she said.
The program gives Medicaid patients access to things like 24 hour care, telecommunication technology, and counseling services.
The price tag was roughly 1 billion dollars last time.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt and Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow agree that it’s worth the investment.
“Not only is this the right thing to do, but the police and emergency rooms should not have become the de-facto mental health delivery system,” says Senator Roy Blunt.
Lawmakers say they’ll continue to work to ensure Duggin and hundreds of thousands more like her get the help they need.