Gov. Abbott Faces Criticism Over Mental Health Care Funding Amidst Calls for Action on Gun Violence
This statement has been criticized by many, who have pointed out that Abbott’s administration had redirected money from the Texas agency that administers mental health services to fund Operation Lone Star, which is a border mission aimed at slowing illegal immigration.
Gov. Abbott has recently made a statement saying that mental health care is the long-term solution to the ongoing problem of gun violence
Despite this criticism, it is not entirely accurate to call this move a “budget cut.” Texas immediately replenished the Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) budget by shifting federal coronavirus aid to the agency’s coffers. Congress allocated that money to Texas through the CARES Act to help the state recover from the pandemic. The money swap is a common budget technique that lawmakers use to maximize state tax revenue when federal dollars become available.
Abbott defended the move, stating that “this transfer will not affect any agency or program function” in a letter to other state leaders
However, many have pointed out that more needs to be done to expand mental health care services in Texas. Abbott’s continued opposition to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has been a major critique, as more than 1 million Texans would gain access to mental health services through Medicaid expansion.
Overall, while Abbott’s statement on mental health care is a step in the right direction, many are calling for more concrete action to be taken to address the issue of gun violence and expand mental health care services in Texas.
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