$8.3 Million to be Cut from Health Budget
In its ongoing quest to make Alaska an unpleasant place to live, the House Health & Social Services Finance Subcommittee has recommended an $8.3 million reduction to critical Behavioral Health Services. The Republicans are trying to teach us slow-learners that the best way to deal with a problem is to ignore it, and then it will go away.
If we don’t allow abortion, women just won’t have them.
If we don’t fund public schools, then we can all just be rid of them and send our kids to church 6 days a week.
And, if we don’t fund local, community based behavioral health issues, then maybe those people will actually learn how to behave.
Victims of the red pen include mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, detox services, services for youth with severe emotional disturbance, supported housing, peer support services, suicide prevention, tribal behavioral health services, services for seniors with co-occurring disorders, parent and peer navigation, services related to domestic violence and sexual assault, prevention and early intervention, programs that support reunifying and keeping families together.
Won’t it be nice not to worry about that namby-pamby stuff? And if the ill-behaved still refuse to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, it will be much easier to just put them in jail, or a psychiatric hospital, or a nursing home. Out of sight, out of mind.
And hey, that’s $8.3 million more we can give to the oil companies! So, it’s a win-win.
Of course, our compassionate and forward-thinking Republican friends don’t seem to take into considerations the benefits of keeping people with mental illness and substance use disorders—including seniors and people with intellectual/developmental disorders – at home and in their communities close to family and friends.
Without community supports, people with behavioral health disorders use emergency rooms more often and are at greater risk for institutionalized care. And I hate to tell the Republicans, but we actually end up paying for that. By serving people at home and in the community, rather than jail, psychiatric institutions or nursing homes, we support family values, allow more Alaskans to live happy and productive lives, and also save money.
What can you do?
Submit public testimony – Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6
Public comment will be limited to two minutes. Make sure your comments don’t go overtime.
To offer public comment, go to your local Legislative Information Office (LIO), or call 465-4648 for details. If you do not live near an LIO, or if it is a hardship to get there, you can call 855-463-5009 to give your testimony.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
1:30-2:30 PM – Juneau (arrive 15 minutes early to expedite the sign-in process)
2:45-3:45 PM – Cordova, Bethel, Kotzebue, Nome, Valdez & Wrangell
4:00-5:15 PM – Anchorage (Nice that half the state’s population gets an extra 15 minutes of testimony time)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
1:30-2:45 PM – Fairbanks
3:00-4:00 PM – Sitka, Petersburg, Barrow, Dillingham, Unalaska, Delta Junction
4:15-5:15 PM – Homer, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-su, Glenallen, Tok, Seward
Email members of the House Finance committee before 5:00 tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6. You can cut and paste this list to reach all committee members.
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