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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Friday, December 21, 2012

Medical Assistance and Mental Illnesses

In light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, people are done blaming guns and starting to talk about mental illness.  As Liza Long points out in her article that went viral, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" (read it here), that there are very few options for people with mental illnesses.  In fact, the only option they really have is to go to prison for people to start paying attention.

This lack of options, some people say, is because of government programs, like Medicaid (known as Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania).  But services for the non-poor mentally ill patients have been hit hard by the recession, and after the Supreme Court struck the mandate requiring states to expand Medicaid programs, people are worried that the Medicaid system will suffer further cuts.  These cuts cause a decrease in coverage or providers and longer waits for appointments, which in turn causes patients to be less likely to seek the help they need.

However, in light of recent events, lawmakers are making mental health services a priority to stop future tragedies.  We have to discuss the mental health aspect and find ways to provide care for the mentally unhealthy.  We can only hope that the Medical Assistance will work to cover the mentally ill, giving them options so prison is not the solution of choice and to keep everyone safe.

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