I was pleased to see the Feb. 9 guest column by Dr. Alan Whitters and Dr. Rickard Larsen, “Mental health services need funding.” I worked in Linn County’s mental health system for 37 years and it was a constant battle with the Legislature to acquire the state funding needed to supplement county property tax funding and provide appropriate levels of service.
Today, there is no excuse for Iowa to limit funds that are needed when there is a billion-dollar “rainy day” fund, sufficient revenue projected with which to pay for services, and a public awareness of the need for improved mental health services.
There also is an opportunity for the state to save big money starting in 2014 by expanding Medicaid as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Unfortunately, our governor and the Republicans in the Legislature oppose accessing these funds. The bogus argument that “some day the feds might not be able to finance the program,” is kind of like counties or cities or schools rejecting state money because “someday the state might not be able to pay us the money.” Get real.
It does not matter the counties, regions or the state runs the system. But whoever runs it needs to finance it appropriately, and now that responsibility falls upon the state.
Craig E. Wood
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