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White House Releases FY 2009 Budget

February 5, 2008

Budget Freezes Most Mental Illness Research and Services Programs; Cuts Proposed for Housing; Increase Sought for Veterans Programs

On February 3, President Bush unveiled his $3.1 trillion proposed budget plan for fiscal year (FY) 2009 - with increases sought for defense and homeland security, and tight controls on most domestic discretionary programs, holding them under inflationary increases.  The result is a budget that continues tight constraints on domestic discretionary spending (which comprise only about 15% of all federal outlays).  In addition, the President’s budget is also seeking more than $200 billion in reductions for the Medicare and Medicaid programs that are mandatory entitlements outside of discretionary spending.  These changes to Medicare and Medicaid must be approved by Congress to go into effect. 

Among the highlights and concerns for NAMI in the President's proposed FY 2009 budget are:

  • Mental illness research – The request for NIMH for FY 2009 is only $1 million above the current FY 2008 level ($1.405 billion) and is far below the increase needed to keep pace with medical research inflation;
  • Medicaid – the President’s budget proposes legislative and administrative changes to Medicaid designed to trim the program by $2 billion in FY 2009 and $17.4 billion over the next 5 years.  Most of these changes will require action by Congress to go into effect; 
  • Mental illness services – most programs at SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) held at current levels, with the exception of the PATH (outreach and engagement for homeless individuals with mental illness) where the President is asking for $7 million increase and the Childrens Mental Health program where the President is asking for a $12 million increase.  Other discretionary and demonstration programs at CMHS are proposed for a $144 million reduction;
  • Veterans – mental illness treatment services in the VA would be increased by $319 million and is projected to reach $3.9 billion in FY 2009; and
  • Housing – a $77 million cut is proposed for the HUD Section 811 program, with the reduction falling hardest on the production of units within the program, funding for homeless programs however would be boosted by $50 million over current levels.

View details of the proposed FY 2009 budgets for agencies and programs of importance to people with severe mental illnesses and their families.