Archive for Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bert Nash mental health center to reduce services, staff due to state budget cuts

Low-income residents, uninsured affected

Nancy Dixon, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center admission specialist, left, and Savina Cascone, case coordinator, right, work Tuesday at the center. State budget cuts will reduce revenue at the center by $785,000 in 2010, and that has caused program and staff reductions.

Nancy Dixon, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center admission specialist, left, and Savina Cascone, case coordinator, right, work Tuesday at the center. State budget cuts will reduce revenue at the center by $785,000 in 2010, and that has caused program and staff reductions.

December 15, 2009, 12:22 p.m. Updated December 15, 2009, 9:47 p.m.

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Mental health facilities losing money

Local mental health official say they are being forced to make $1 million in cuts. Local facility officials say the cuts will have a big impact on the community. Enlarge video

Mental health services are being reduced in Douglas County at a time when they are needed most.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center is losing $785,000 in state funding because of recent budget cuts. In response, it is reducing services that mostly will affect low-income residents and those who don’t have health insurance.

Bert Nash, which serves about 6,000 Douglas County residents annually, has lost $1.4 million in state and local funding since 2007.

“That’s a lot of money. It’s too much money for people to think it won’t hurt,” said David Johnson, Bert Nash CEO. “I sort of feel like it’s that frog in the boiling pot of water that people just don’t realize how painful things are, and I don’t know what it’s going to take to turn it around.”

The agency gets about 50 percent of its funding from the Medicaid program, which recently was slashed by 10 percent statewide.

“So, that’s $500,000 of this cut,” Johnson said.

Services affected

To help make ends meet, Bert Nash is cutting a program that helps people transition from a state hospital or other hospital back into the community. The program provided assistance for about 15 residents per year.

It also is reducing funding for a housing assistance program by 75 percent. The program helps low-income residents pay for things like utilities and rent deposits. It is used by about 70 people annually.

The agency also is going to require people to pay for services before receiving them, except in emergency situations. The costs for services are based on an individual’s ability to pay. Johnson said he wasn’t sure how many people the change would affect.

An aging specialist will no longer provide free community outreach. The employee often visited nursing homes, but now will be spending time on other services.

Johnson said Bert Nash, which is located inside the Community Health Facility at 200 Maine, has 185 full- and part-time employees who are being asked to do more for less.

Five employees will lose their jobs by Feb. 1, and two positions will remain vacant.

Staff members are enduring wage cuts, furloughs and loss of vacation time. Bert Nash also is reducing training opportunities and eliminating its staff recognition program, among other things.

“They are still absorbing it right now. I think that there will probably be some variation in terms of what people can tolerate,” Johnson said. “We’re really fortunate in that we have a very skilled and dedicated staff. So, I think most people are saying they are willing to step up to the plate and do what they can.”

Helping out

A Lawrence agency also is stepping up to help fill a void left by the cuts.

The Leo Center, which provides a variety of services for low-income residents, plans to take over a prescription assistance program that is being cut by Bert Nash. The program helps hundreds of people gain access to prescription medicine at reduced costs or for free. The program requires a lot of paperwork and staff time.

The Leo Center, located at 1 Riverfront Plaza, already has its own program.

“The Leo Center has figured out a way to use students and volunteers and they’ve got it set up electronically, so they are doing it much more efficiently than we were, frankly,” Johnson said. “We certainly appreciate that kind of support from them. That’s going to make a difference.”

Jon Stewart, director of the Leo Center, said it’s an example of how Douglas County agencies can work together.

“In tight times like this, we are going to have to collaborate and we’re going to have to get creative,” Stewart said. “I think that’s the silver lining in this.”

Stewart said the Leo Center is still working out the logistics of taking on the extra workload, but is committed to doing so.

Trickle-down effect

But, there will be gaps in mental health services left by the budget cuts, and community leaders are preparing for the fallout.

Craig Weinaug, Douglas County administrator, expects uninsured residents will seek care at other social service agencies, which also are dealing with reduced budgets and growing needs. Or, he expects, they will visit Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room when in crisis because they will have no alternatives.

He said some residents simply won’t be able to function and will be more apt to disobey the law.

“I know for certain there’s going to be more people in jail. It’s inevitable,” Weinaug said. “When you cut that much money from an agency like Bert Nash, the consequences and the ripple effect on other things in the community are huge.”

The budget situation is expected to get worse before it gets better — statewide and locally.

“For the county, it is going to get worse.” Weinaug said.

Johnson, who has been CEO at Bert Nash since 2001, said he will continue to evaluate services and staffing in preparation for further cuts.

“This is virtually the toughest time that I can remember — period,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty clear that we are going backward, and I don’t know what it’s going to take for us to be able to recover in the future, but that’s what we are going to try and do.”

Comments

texburgh 5 years, 7 months ago

This is representative of the worst in state government as paid for by the Koch brothers and their lackeys at Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Kansas Chamber. Their insatiable demand for corporate tax cuts - to the tune of $10 billion from 1995 to 2010 - and their commitment to crush in elections any Republican who even considers that government can have a role to play for good in people's lives (like at Bert Nash) have turned our state into a pit. Our schools and universities; social services for our disabled and senior neighbors; mental health facilities and nursing homes; public safety and even our highway program are all being starved in their anti-tax frenzy. Think about the Kochs and AFP the next time you confront a mentally ill panhandler or are accosted by a drug addict who can't get into a rehabilitation program. Think about it when your child or grandchild can't have a music program at school or an AP class or when your library stops acquiring new books. Think about it when you need to get your car realigned because you just hit a pothole.

Wake up, Kansas.

bluerain 5 years, 7 months ago

On a local level, the budget cuts are a consequence of sending our troops to Iraq. Those in need of services offered by Bert Nash to our children attending local schools are suffering due to the financial cost of this war. End the war and we should be able to recover economically within a short period of time.

finance 5 years, 7 months ago

That's total bullfarkle, bluerain. There is no connection between Iraq and local/state funding of social services except in the minds of the deluded majority--in this case, perhaps a majority of one, and you could easily be "the one". This might be a joined-at-the-hip world in the sense that if some nutcase builds a suitcase bomb it can affect us all no matter how far away across the globe the behavior occurs, but these insane and inhuman cuts to education and social services are the deliberate contrivance of evil idiots whose insatiable greed is driving the death of a civilized society through planned (yes, decades-long planned) tax cuts meant to bankrupt a civil and compassionate society. And when they're done (if permitted by an unthinking public), we will no longer have public schools, social agencies, safety nets, or anything else humane--we'll just have robber barons and their following self-deluded, self-destructive fools.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's all look in the mirror. We don't like paying taxes, and this is what happens.

skinny 5 years, 7 months ago

Taxes need to be cut. Government spending has been out of control for years. Everyone expects something for nothing. It's time for everyone to pay for the services they receive such as Health care, schooling, welfare ect…… No more free rides!!!!!

BrianR 5 years, 7 months ago

It's not time to try to assign blame, it's time to get pissed and call your legislator.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Healthcare Moocher-- There isn't a true statement in your entire post. But it does have a good deal of "truthiness" in the eyes of true(thy) believers.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 7 months ago

The problem here is thwe high cost of mental health services, especially perscription drugs. For instance I know a person who takes three medications Seroquel, Wellutrin and Abilify. This person is on disability so income is limited. The Seroquel costs $900.00 per month, Wellbutrin $600.00 per month, Abilify around $200.00 per month. Using the med program provided by the drug companies perscriptions cost about 100.00 every three months. This is less than if Medicaid or Medicare were billed. Plus that cost is paid out of pocket instead of the State or Medicare being billed.

BrianR 5 years, 7 months ago

Impossible, Wellbutrin is available as a generic and shouldn't be but a couple of bucks.

Kris_H 5 years, 7 months ago

Cavalier statements like "families shoud take care of their own mentally ill" aren't helpful and show a complete lack of understanding about the whole situation.

Lots of people with mental illness do live with their families and get taken care of by them. Others aren't so lucky and their choice is between someone providing them with just about everything, or wandering the streets in complete chaos, either doing bad things to other people or (more likely) having bad things done to them. And if you think it's easy to take care of a person with severe mental illness you should try it sometime. Fortunately, not all people with mental illnesses have them in the most severe form, and are able to function with less support.

You get what you pay for, and I think blaming the "cut taxes and reduce government" crowd is exactly right. This is only one area where social supports are going to continue to be reduced.

SuperSnot 5 years, 7 months ago

The high costs of prescriptions are eating up the Bert Nash funds. Prescription drug companies "write off" the costs, meaning they don't overcharge by the hundreds of dollars they normally can pilfer. The reason Bert Nash, and our public schools are losing funding is because PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO PAY TAXES. The vast majority of Kansans have been brainwashed into believing that taxes only give handouts to people they believe are undeserving. Well, I say BULL-HOCKEY! What about our roads, highways, services for the elderly, etc.? Can we not consider other people? Bert Nash is not a money drain. People in this town complain about the homeless downtown dirtying up their precious Mass. Street. Well, you can bet there are going to be plenty more people messing up your view when Bert Nash can't serve them. And some people don't have families to take care of them. And what if your family member, too ashamed to talk to you about feelings of depression, can't find help when they are feeling suicidal? They won't have any place to go except down to the river. We need mental health care. People are getting laid off, young veterans are coming home (and the VA is not always their first option), young people who are overwhelmed with life; these people will go without the help they need. Our school funding (or lack thereof) causes many more problems we might not see for a few years. But the moaners who say, "No more taxes" will keep screaming their chant. God help you if you ever fall on hard times, or your family suffers, because the State of Kansas and the City of Lawrence won't have enough money to help you.

Jean Robart 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a patient of one of the doctors at Bert Nash.I just got a prescription for a new medication--and I can't afford to get it with insurance. I have worked since I was 18, and I'm 60 now. I lost my job in May, and am struggling to pay ANY bills, let alone life saving prescriptions. The cuts at Bert Nash concern me greatly. BNC provides a valuable set of services--to more than just the clients they serve. They do a great service to the community, and are dealing with the funding problem as best they can.

gphawk89 5 years, 7 months ago

With a few simple alterations to the first two paragraphs, we can describe the state of healthcare in general soon after the federal government passes their legislation:

"Health services are being reduced in he United States at a time when they are needed most."

"Health Centers across the nation are losing billions in federal funding because of recent budget cuts. In response, they are reducing services that mostly will affect low-to-middle-income citizens."

feetup 5 years, 7 months ago

all i can tell you about BN is their nurse for meds quit in October and they have not replaced him yet. I can't get an appt to get my med refilled since they have NOT replaced him. Then they told me no refill til i get an appt. Appt with who I asked? There isn't anyone!!! I finally got a nurse to help me, but not after a lot of b*tching.

sourpuss 5 years, 7 months ago

As long as Kansans keep electing narrow-minded people who "believe" rather than think, then the state and its population will keep getting what it deserves. I'm sorry for the people adversely affected by this, but hey, Boeing will do a little better this year, so look on the bright side, everyone. American society will be better if the upper management of a company gets a larger Christmas bonus this year. The fact that you can't get help for your son's suicidal depression shouldn't get you down.

bluerain 5 years, 7 months ago

In response to "finance's" reaction to my comment: your response sounds more deluded than mine. The cost of the war has negatively impacted our country in many ways, including our economy; I believe that it is the primary reason for the current state of our economy.

My prayers goes out for the persons and their families who will be directly affected by these cutbacks and the ones to come. Anonymous blogging surely doesn't help improve the situation. We need to speak out publicly and lend a helping hand in any way that we can.

Zachary Stoltenberg 5 years, 7 months ago

Then why don't you put your real name attached to your delusional comment bluerain?

Ken Garner 5 years, 7 months ago

looking at the big picture, looks like we are being sent a message that says, this is what happens in todays healthcare, budget cut after budget cut. sorry masses but we are trying to change it. and we will have no choice but to conform to a government owned and ran healthcare system, under the pretense that it will get better. we promise. isnt Burt Nash a government funded intitute, and they are having problems now. what happens when we all have to go to Burt Nash? or some other government facility. i would like to keep my freedom of choice, thank you very much. there has to be ways of getting money to institutes that treat our fellow man. i can think of one way, how about government spending on jet fuel. anyone else have other ideas?

meggers 5 years, 7 months ago

In the meantime, Brownback and his fellow "compassionate Christians" will continue to pray that congress does not reform health care to provide for those in need. I guess all of those fetuses they are so obsessed with will just have to pull themselves up by their own little bootie straps once they are born.

brujablanco 5 years, 7 months ago

No, the problem is not just the high cost of mental health - it is the fault of those legislators continually voted into office who cut, cut, cut. The cuts hit social services, schools and so on and will continue until the voters get wise and stop reelecting these idiots to office.

BTW your emails aren't working. Give it up once and for all.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

Why does Bert Nash need to exist at all?

As a society, we don't need government to coddle the mentally ill.

Society works best when the mentally ill are fending for themselves. In the history of human societies, this has been proven correct time and time again.

Cut taxes, but not for everybody just targeted at "job creators"!

meggers 5 years, 7 months ago

Bob_Keeshan,

Perhaps you should look back in history to see just how well it worked for the mentally ill to "fend for themselves" before there were services to provide them with humane treatment. Then, you might want to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you're truly capable of going there.

Ken Garner 5 years, 7 months ago

Bob_Keeshan

Burt Nash needs to exist to provide care for those individuals who cannot afford to pay the cost of private healthcare, which to my knowledge is rather expensive.

And so without Bert Nash, the fend for yourself attitude cannot apply for everyone. and i would be interested in knowing what society that worked in. but we are not talking about other societies, we are talking about this one, where we have umm i dont know...cars. alot of the disabled cant cook for themselves, much less drive to work to make money to buy food. oh but there is public transport, if say you live within 1 mile of a bus stop, i would not have wanted to make that walk yesterday morning. and maybe they can work close to home? yeah right.

meggers 5 years, 7 months ago

My apologies, Bob. In reading your post on the "corrections" thread, I realize that your comment in this thread was likely facetious.

LoveThsLife 5 years, 7 months ago

From personal experience I can say services like this are essential. I have a brother who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager. He has lived with my mother for a number of years. At times he has had to be institutionalized to stabilize him and adjust his medication. It is a very sad situation. My mom did her best to help my brother and we did what we could to help out as well. Eventually, living at home was not the answer for him. He became quite scary and threatened to kill my mom. There were nights when she would wake up and he was standing over her...very frightening. We had to hospitalize him and find housing for him. He now lives in an assisted living facility designed for those with issues similar to his. He is doing well and is learning skills to help him better care for himself. It has also helped his relationship with us as his family. I have been really impressed with what I have seen. I for one am thankful for programs like this. As people with severe mental illness may become increasingly erratic, it can become harder for their families to take care of them, at times they can pose a danger to those who love them. It can be difficult to give someone with mental illness their medication especially if they are grown and refuse to take it. In addition, even if they are taking medication faithfully they can "get used" to the dosage/combination and it may begin not to work. In addition to medication, many with mental illness need help coping with and modifying behavior. It is a ton of work and many families don't have the support/knowledge base to take on such a task. A good resource for those struggling is www.nami.org

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

artichokeheart (Anonymous) says…

"For instance I know a person who takes three medications Seroquel, Wellutrin and Abilify. This person is on disability so income is limited. The Seroquel costs $900.00 per month, Wellbutrin $600.00 per month ..."

As someone stated above, bupropion is available as a generic and has been for years, but even the name brand only costs about $150/month in the SR formulation.


meggers (Anonymous) says…

"In the meantime, Brownback and his fellow “compassionate Christians” will continue to pray that congress does not reform health care to provide for those in need."

Um - for those not paying attention, Bert Nash and Medicaid are examples of government-funded healthcare, and the number one problem with turning the whole shebang over to them - when you make everyone dependent on the government to pay for their healthcare, what happens when the tax revenues dry up?

kugrad 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the therapy junkies (adults who have been in therapy for the same issues for years and years with no real changes in their behavior) should stop paying on a sliding scale and be required to pay full price. Every little bit helps. Time to clear out those with a poor prognosis for improvement and help only those who really need it or have not proven they don't respond to therapy.

meggers 5 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk,

If we truly had a single-payer government insurance system, that system would work like any other private insurance system, in which healthy people who use less insurance would offset the costs of the higher users.

I don't think you can really lump Bert Nash in with the health insurance system, as they are a community service that accepts both private insurance and Medicare/Medicaid. Community Mental Health Centers are not much diffferent than non-profit hospitals and schools, in that they provide a service to the community at large. In order to remain solvent, they rely on government revenue (much like services for the elderly and disabled). Unless you are suggesting that these types of services be discontinued altogether, I don't see a viable alternative to having the public contribute to the costs.

I think a lot of the argument really boils down to whether or not we want to pay for services we deem necessary up-front, knowing that they will be there if or when we need them, or do we want to allow the private market to continue pricing them out of reach for many of the people whe need them the most?

Rationed care exists now and there are many people who made fiscally responsible decisions, built up a nest egg, and thought they would be financially secure for the rest of their lives- only to find themselves deeply in debt due to a serious medical condition. Once these folks lose their homes and all of their assets, we're going to wind up paying for them, anyway. Personally, I would prefer to pay up front, knowing that even in the event of a medical catastrophe, losing my home or having my health insurance premiums skyrocket won't be on my list of worries. Not to mention the moral repugnance of knowing that people are dying each and every day from diseases and illnesses that could be prevented and/or treated, if only we had the moral courage to do the right thing.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

meggers, what mustbeaMUgrad is really saying is he doesn't believe those who cannot afford either private insurance or paying out of pocket should have access to health care.

pfeifer 5 years, 7 months ago

To those people who think that budget cuts in the area of healthcare, especially mental health, are acceptable, let me offer you a true story. My story.

A year ago, I tried to kill myself. My parents and family knew nothing of my feelings until they got a call, from Lawrence Memorial, at 3 in the morning telling them that I had attempted suicide. Luckily for me, my parents came to my side and helped me seek help.

Since I come from a low income family, I went to the Bert Nash center, and in less than a week, I was put on an anti-depressant at a very low cost to me ($10 per visit, with about 1 visit per month, I qualified for free meds through a patient assistance program of Forest Pharmaceuticals). Now, because of the budget cuts, I am forced to pay $65 per visit, and because of my worsening depression, I must go in at least 2 times a month.

I'm ashamed to say that I cannot pay $130 out of my own pocket for healthcare, each month. My family cannot either. It's not like I'm not trying either. I hold a job where I work 30 hours a week, but I am a full time student, and I pay my own rent, utility, and grocery bills.

I'm sure that I haven't changed everyone's mind, but just think, there are more people out there like me than you'd think. There are even people worse of than me. I'm not saying that a tax cut isn't a nice thing. I know that it's great to keep as much of your earned money as possible. But if somebody doesn't help the homeless and the poor, who aren't capable of paying even a small amount of money for pills that they legitimately NEED to function in society, how can we expect to live in the idealistic world that you all want?

No parent deserves the call that mine got. No parent deserves the call that mine could have gotten. If we continue to brush off mental illness, our problems will only get worse.

pfeifer 5 years, 7 months ago

I challenge any of you, whether or not you believe in this cut, to go sit in the Bert Nash waiting room for one hour. Sit in there for ONE HOUR when you're bored, or on lunch. Sit in the waiting room and ask people what their story is. Ask people why they are there. Then come back to me and tell me that we should let the mentally ill fend for themselves. That is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

persevering_gal 5 years, 7 months ago

pfeifer,

Thank you for sharing your story. I have struggled with similar issues, and it greatly disturbs me when one labels another as "mentally ill" for going through something tragic in their lives or even having a chemical imbalance and cannot control their depression without medication and/or therapy. I truly hope the people who need the help will find a way to do so.

Satirical 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a fiscal conservative, but I also believe the services provided by Bert Nash are essential.

finance 5 years, 7 months ago

Quoting whomever above (I refuse to breathe/acknowledge his/her screen name aloud): "Society works best when the mentally ill are fending for themselves."

Unbelievable! Staggeringly unbelievable! If truly uttered tongue in cheek as someone else generously suggested above, some exceedingly clear indication of that would be most helpful in dulling my revulsion at such apparent insanity dripping from the lips of someone so evidently untreated/unaided/unfunded (pun sorrily intended). If not tongue in cheek, then God help us all--I will ask to be excused from this planet. By definition, how do the mentally ill help themselves?

I truly hope I get to be king on the day when the nutcase who seriously believes the mentally ill deserve no help ends up on the public "dole"--what ironic justice that would be (speaking of him/her, not me). And the ultimate satisfaction would be if he/she actually improved his/her lot in life stemming from the services provided at my/your taxpayer expense. Again, simply unbelievable--but I guess I made that point to anyone who's actually listening.

tomatogrower 5 years, 7 months ago

texburgh (Anonymous) says… This is representative of the worst in state government as paid for by the Koch brothers and their lackeys at Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Kansas Chamber

You got that right. The Koch family are good little Christians who believe they are rewarded by God; although financing many politicians (otherwise known as buying their votes) is what really helps them. All those crazy people who need Bert Nash are just not Christian enough, so they can just go commit suicide or live on the streets. "Real" conservative Christians could care less.

Karrey Britt 5 years, 7 months ago

I want to thank those who have shared their personal stories. It helps put this issue into perspective.

LoveThsLife 5 years, 7 months ago

KuGrad States: "Maybe the therapy junkies (adults who have been in therapy for the same issues for years and years with no real changes in their behavior) should stop paying on a sliding scale and be required to pay full price. Every little bit helps. Time to clear out those with a poor prognosis for improvement and help only those who really need it or have not proven they don't respond to therapy."

Wow...you have a long way to go in understanding mental illness.

LoveThsLife 5 years, 7 months ago

To the person who wrote: “Society works best when the mentally ill are fending for themselves.” You probably don't realize that those who are mentally ill and fending for themselves are often homeless.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

kbritt (Karrey Britt) says…

I want to thank those who have shared their personal stories. It helps put this issue into perspective.

I'd like to echo those comments.

I'd also like to point out that the anti-tax, anti-"demoncrats", anti-government crowd has run away and hid from this story.

It must be nice to go through life with blinders so that you don't have to actually witness the effects of the anti-societal political philosophy you cling to so desperately and wield like a weapon against those who would argue that government is an extension of all of us.

There are real effects to the anti-tax/anti-government policies embraced by zealots who frequent this website and the politicians who carry their message in Topeka and in Washington.

It is sad that when those effects are laid bare in a story like this and in the comments section those individuals will not stand up and make their pathetic arguments. They are truly gutless.

kugrad 5 years, 7 months ago

Lovethslife I'm not referring to the mentally ill. I'm referring to therapy junkies. People who are not mentally ill, but like to go to therapists because they are hooked on therapy. Don't tell me they don't exist, they surely do. Some people just like to talk endlessly about their problems to anyone who will listen. Their family, friends, and coworkers grow tired of it, but the therapist will always listen. The people to whom I refer never make any progress in therapy, they don't leave therapy even if that is recommended, and they never change the behaviors that they talk to their therapist about. I have no issue at all with people who need therapy. However, when the times get tough and drastic cuts are made, don't you think that those who need therapy the most should be the ones who get it? I'm well aware that my comments only deal with a very small number of people - honestly I'm partly just venting over someone I know to whom therapy is a way of life- but if I know one person like this, chances are there are 4 or 5 more in a community of this size. Maybe more. Best thing to do is just not take my comments too seriously as I was shooting off some steam. Being friends with a therapy junkie takes a toll on your patience over a few decades.

mr_right_wing 5 years, 7 months ago

I guess then ever getting an in-patient mental health facility is really out of the question!

laughingatallofu 5 years, 7 months ago

“At this festive time of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. . . .” “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge. “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. . . . “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge. “Both are very busy, sir.” “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.” “. . .A few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. . . . What shall I put you down for?” “Nothing!” Scrooge replied. “You wish to be anonymous?” “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

meggers (Anonymous) says…

"If we truly had a single-payer government insurance system, that system would work like any other private insurance system, in which healthy people who use less insurance would offset the costs of the higher users."

Um, no. For every currently uninsured healthy person that would be added to those paying in, you'd be adding some who are currently uninsured due to pre-existing conditons. There would be a net increase in costs.

But in any event, you didn't address the point I was making. I have asked this question numerous times on numerous threads and nobody ever seems to be able to answer it:

If we turn over the whole system to a government run bureaucracy, and ALL our healthcare would be funded by tax revenues, what happens in times of recession (like now, for instance) when those tax revenues dry up?

(Psssst - the answer is at the top of the page.)

"Community Mental Health Centers are not much diffferent than non-profit hospitals and schools, in that they provide a service to the community at large. In order to remain solvent, they rely on government revenue (much like services for the elderly and disabled). Unless you are suggesting that these types of services be discontinued altogether, I don't see a viable alternative to having the public contribute to the costs."

Um, Meg? I'm a provider and clinical supervisor for the most utilized program in a regional CMHC. Pretty sure I recognize the need. And Captain Kangaroo's assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, I have never suggested that we should not, as a society, take care of those who are truly in need. Again, my comment was opposed to turning over the whole system to the government.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"meggers, what mustbeaMUgrad is really saying is he doesn't believe those who cannot afford either private insurance or paying out of pocket should have access to health care."

Ah yes, the snobbish, elitist arrogance we've all come to love from the good Captain.

Over the years, bobbie, I've had the misfortune to work with numerous examples of mental health providers that were products of KU. While there have been some notable exceptions, for the most part they're a bit of a joke in our business.

And sorry to disappoint, bobbie, but I did not go to MU either. That's your problem, isn't it? Everything to you is a binary solution set. If I didn't go to KU, then the ONLY possibility is I went to MU. Couldn't possibly have been one of the 7000+ other institutes of higher education in this country.

And if I object to the government taking over healthcare, then I must want people to die, right, bobbie? As a good little state employee and Party member, with the arrogance to believe only YOU understand the issue and could possibly know what the solution is, any objection to your Dear Leader's plan must mean I want poor people to have no access to care. Guess that would explain why I travel 56 miles from home every day to work in a Community Mental Health Center, where in the past two years I have had exactly zero clients with private insurance and a total of three who had enough of an income to require a co-pay.

What Captain Kangaroo is really saying, meggers, is that nobody can survive without the government taking care of all their needs, especially because then we wouldn't need HIM, and he couldn't get a job in the private sector to save his life.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

mustbeaMUgrad - thanks for proving it. Of all the other things you could be other than a jayhawk, it is obvious you went to MU>

And yes, as your post makes clear you believe those who cannot afford health care should not receive health care.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 7 months ago

And notaMUgrad - keep your facts straight. You've made it clear several times you think I'm a federal employee, not a state employee. I suppose next week I'll be a county employee...

All while claiming to have a wide variety of jobs for yourself. This is what, the third different "job" you've claimed to have?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Over the years, bobbie, I've had the misfortune to work with numerous examples of mental health providers that were products of KU."

Let us know when you find a treatment regimen that works for you, nota.

hedshrinker 5 years, 7 months ago

Anyone who uses insurance, medicaid etc and especially anyone who receives svcs thru a public agency is subject to scrupulous oversight by those entities who will use their control of the pursestrings to limit the services they underwrite, sometimes judiciously and frequently quite capriciously denying needed access to therapy, case management, etc. This is true whether the provider is in the public sector or private. In this day of managed care and debilitating budget cuts very few people except those who can pay privately can afford to become "therapy junkies." My goal as a provider is to put myself out of a job as soon as a client can fend for themselves or can put a natural, functional (read non-paid, non-professional) support system in place for themselves. Needing MENTAL health care is not a sign of individual failure anymore than needing medical care for yr diabetes, heart disease, etc. Yes, there are issues of self-responsibility in all those cases, but blaming the victim seems to be the wave of the political and economic future, as it was in the dark past.

meggers 5 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk: "Um, no. For every currently uninsured healthy person that would be added to those paying in, you'd be adding some who are currently uninsured due to pre-existing conditons. There would be a net increase in costs."

You're forgetting the millions of relatively healthy people who currently pay into the system, yet use very little health care. Young, healthy people would pay the same as the higher users, knowing that eventually, they, too, will need more health care services as they age. And surely you're not defending the practice of refusing to cover individuals due to pre-existing conditions, are you?

notajayhawk: "If we turn over the whole system to a government run bureaucracy, and ALL our healthcare would be funded by tax revenues, what happens in times of recession (like now, for instance) when those tax revenues dry up?"

The same argument could be made for essentially any government allocation, including the costs of war. If our nation is attacked, would we not go to war, because our tax revenue falls short of projections? Of course not. It's all a matter of priority. If anything, the current cuts in the Medicaid budget are an indictment of the trickle down fiscal policy that our state legislators have embraced- and still refuse to acknowledge as ineffective.

Also, you should keep in mind that because the overall cost of health care would be cheaper (due to price controls), the net benefit to the average consumer would be much greater than the path we're on now in the private market. Wages would also be higher, since employers would no longer need to provide expensive healthcare converage to employees.

I'm glad you see the need for low cost mental health services in the community. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it at least appears as though you also recognize that these services require public funding, in order to prevent major gaps in services. The overall health care system is no different, largely because many citizens have simply been priced out of the market- and the problem is steadily worsening.

Given that, while I understand there are some legitimate philosophical arguments against universal health care, I find it bizarre that you would use this particular article to make them. If anything, it underscores the failure of the free market to address real-life societal dilemmas, and it illustrates the devastating consequences of a legislature that continually chooses corporate welfare over the welfare of it's own constituents.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"If anything, it underscores the failure of the free market to address real-life societal dilemmas,"

But it's not a failure. By definition, the free market is designed to deliver profits to investors. Quality of the product to end users is secondary at best.

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