Ohio House budget strips out much of increased funding for mental health and addiction services
The Ohio chapter of the country’s largest mental health advocacy organization assembles for its annual meeting Wednesday. And they’ll hear from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, whose attempt to increase funding for mental health services was pushed back by the House.
The House version of the budget has an income tax cut and other changes from DeWine’s proposed budget – including an elimination of $79 million that DeWine had put in for a boost in funding for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. DeWine says that money is needed.
“We have to have these dollars for mental health. Over the last several years, we have really started to build a mental health system in the state of Ohio, but we're not there," DeWine said when asked about the funding. "We have a ways to go.”
The House budget does keep funding for the mental health agency above current levels, but advocates had called for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates above DeWine’s original budget. The House increased those rates a bit, but decreased funding in other areas.
In his State of the State speech in January, DeWine had previewed the mental health spending in his budget, saying that he wanted to build a "community care system" and offer “better crisis response services and treatment options". That included the State of Ohio Action for Resiliency Network — or the SOAR Network — to help work on “the root causes of mental illness and addiction.”