Thousands of Arizonans with mental illness hoping for Medicaid expansion

2013-06-13T10:02:00Z 2013-06-13T13:12:21Z Thousands of Arizonans with mental illness hoping for Medicaid expansionStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 13, 2013 10:02 am  • 

Without Medicaid expansion, Arizona mental health advocates fear devastating effects on people living with mental illness.

The Arizona Legislature is expected to approve expanding the program today, though several Republican leaders remain opposed.

The mental health community says that nearly 50,000 uninsured adults in Arizona are living with mental illness - that amounts to 12 percent of Arizona's uninsured.

The number of uninsured people in the state has spiked since 2010 when the state froze childless adults from enrolling in Medicaid, a health insurance program for low income people.

“All Arizona legislators need to closely consider the mental health aspects of the restoration,” said H. Clark Romans, executive director of the National Alliance On Mental Illness' Southern Arizona chapter.

Without expansion, taxpayers will continue to see costs shifted to emergency rooms, law enforcement, courts, jails, broken families and broken lives, Romans said.

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