Photo Courtesy of Toni Smith/USGS
The Cities Thrive Coalition wants more federal aid to combat the nation’s mental health and opioid crises.
By Forum Staff
The Cities Thrive Coalition on Thursday sent a letter signed by nearly 100 bipartisan mayors to congressional leadership outlining priorities for the Fiscal Year 2018 government funding package.
Cities Thrive, which is composed of nearly 200 mayors representing all 50 states, Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico, is the first national coalition of municipalities to advocate for a stronger, better funded, and more integrated behavioral health system for all Americans.
On Thursday, the coalition called on Congress to increase funding to combat the nation’s mental health and opioid crises, including $1.86 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, $562 million for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, and the remaining $500 million in emergency opioid funding Congress authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act.
“Dedicated leaders across the country are coming together to secure the critical funding necessary to support behavioral health services. All of the leaders in the Cities Thrive Coalition are on the front lines of this national crisis and we will be relentless in our advocacy until our President and congressional leaders listen to us and respond appropriately,” said coalition leader and NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray.
Additionally, the coalition advocated that Congress attach a five year funding reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Centers, a two year delay of cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, and the passage of two Affordable Care Act stabilization bills: the Bipartisan Stabilization Act of 2017 and Lower Premiums Through Reinsurance Act of 2017.
“With at least one in five Americans experiencing a mental health disorder and over 60,000 Americans dying last year due to drug overdoses, the federal government must play a significant role in combating this crisis,” the coalition wrote. “We call on Congress to appropriate increased federal funding to help fight this behavioral health epidemic, as local investment alone will not suffice.”