Care for Your Mind
Due to Congress’ stalemate in reducing the federal deficit, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, are taking effect on federal government programs. Medicaid and Social Security are practically the only programs unaffected, and the Congress has begun scrambling to address the high-profile, high-impact cuts as they arise, such as providing relief for air traffic control. With spending being cut on a broad scale, what will sequestration mean in practical terms for people dealing with mental health conditions? Will the cuts affect you?
(For background information, read What is Sequestration? at USA.gov.)
The overriding concern about sequestration is that it has absolutely no precision: sequestration was designed to cut wide swaths through government, sparing no agency or program. This means that spending in every federal agency—from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the FBI—and on every federal program—like the national parks, disaster relief, food safety inspection, and airport security—will be cut by 5 percent this year, and even more each year for the next nine years. And because of the delay in implementing sequestration, the cuts are more severe as reductions that would have been spread over 12 months are now crammed into 7 months instead.
(This interactive chart from the Washington Post provides estimates of the state-by-state impact of sequestration by category, based on White House estimates. Click on “Public Health” for the most relevant information.)
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