Robbing Peter to pay Paul...

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peterpaulOkay Network faithful, another important component of the Affordable Care Act you need to commit to memory because it will increasingly come into play is the Prevention and Public Health Fund. You may be wondering what has gotten under Senator Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) skin about this if you have been watching the news the past few days. In the President's budget, payment for the Marketplace Navigator Grants is coming from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. As Senator Harkin stated the other day, "It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul."

For the Children's Mental Health Network, understanding the global context of how health care reform is unveiling itself is critical as we expect mental health to be integrated into public health in the near future. Given that health care reform is fully embracing a public health model, what looks good on paper in Washington needs to be good for youth and families with mental health challenges at the local level. And if we continue to chip away at the Prevention and Public Health fund to pay for other good ideas, and the health fund is designed to shore up existing public health operations (including mental health) that will be weakened if we keep digging into the fund to pay for things like Navigators, who are so important to ensuring individuals and families get what they need from a health system that... oh wait a minute... may be crumbling because we are robbing the fund set up to support it... Dang, no wonder people throw up their hands when they try to decipher all of this. Yes, an English teacher's worst nightmare run-on sentence was intentional.

So take a bromo and consider it this way:

Here is what Senator Harkin had to say about all of this the other day:


  1. Dr. George Patrin's avatar
    Dr. George Patrin
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    "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" one of my favorite sayings; in other words, a shell game. Can we "Afford" the "Affordable Care Act?" The Prevention and Public Health Fund is "payment for the Marketplace Navigator Grants?" What?! Obviously, the Prevention and Public Health fund needs to pay for Prevention, and primarily within Primary Care, integrating Mental Health into that construct. How do you spell "set us up...for failure." If the Act is launched with this kind of thinking, we'll soon hear "see, I told you it wouldn't work." Proactive Healthcare will not happen by using the money to give payroll tax breaks. That's clear. Many uninformed feel "Prevention" is "unnecessary," after all, why see a doctor if you're not sick? Let's spend our healthcare dollars only for people who have fallen off the cliff, why put money into stopping them from going over it in the first place? If congress doesn't get this, we'd best re-work who writes our laws. To start with, make Congress include themselves as being covered under the Act!
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