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Mental Health Providers React to Sununu's Veto of Medicaid Rate Increase Bill

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR
New Hampshire State House.

Mental health care providers are reacting to Governor Chris Sununu's veto of a bill that would have provided new money for mental health services in the state.

The bill, backed mostly by Democrats, would have spent $3.5 million to raise the rates that Medicaid pays out for mental health services and substance use disorder treatments.

In vetoing the bill, Sununu, a two-term Republican, said spending money right before the next state budget goes into effect would be redundant.

Seacoast Mental Health Center CEO Jay Couture disagrees, noting that Medicaid rates in New Hampshire have remained below the national average for years.

“Understanding that there are funds also anticipated to be in the budget for the next biennium, that doesn't eliminate the needs or concerns or immediacy of the need that these funds would've helped to address,” said Couture.

Couture says the rate increases are needed to help with the chronic workforce shortage and turnover issues across the mental health care system.

“It makes me sad that once again it feels like the services provided to people living with mental illness and substance use disorders are not a top priority,” said Couture.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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