Medicaid cuts could have 'devastating' effect on mentally ill

Medicaid cuts could have 'devastating' effect on mentally ill

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tens of thousands of people who receive help for their mental illness may be affected if President Donald Trump's health care bill is passed.

The proposed bill would include $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid.

Medicaid provides a lot of the funding for mental health programs.

Clarke Romans, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona, said those cuts would be "devastating."

Romans said there are 100,000 people living with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression in Pima County alone.

Two thirds of them are not getting treatment.

He said there is a concern that number could go up if health care bill moves forward.

Besides a freeze on Medicaid expansion, some states could require Medicaid recipients to work.

Romans said many people suffering from mental illness can't find a job and if they do, they can't keep it.

"You are attacking the least able to do well in our society even if they are well supported," he said. "So it seems like a frontal attack on the people who have the least ability to fend for themselves."

There are also concerns that if people don't get the help they need, they will end up in jail or homeless.

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