State Senator Patricia Jones, D-District 4, says she is concerned about all the cutting and chipping away that has already been done to health and social service areas.”When you look at Medicaid, for instance, more than 60% of the cost of Medicaid, the recipients, is (for) children,” Jones claimed on KVNU’s For the People program Tuesday. “In fact, most of the rest of them are long-term recipients, vulnerable and frail elderly people in long-term care. “So it is very difficult to figure out how do we cut, where do we cut? These are people whose lives depend on the rest of us.”Jones says a bill before the Legislature would have Medicaid recipients perform public service in exchange for their benefits. She said it would be good if they could but most of them just don’t have the physical capacity to do this. In her words, “we can pay a little more money for these people now or pay a lot more down the road.”Jones also feels strongly about legislation proposing that law enforcement officers have more training in mental health issues. She says the resolution is strongly supported by NAMI, the National Association on Mental Illness.Jones said she feels mental health is an issue that has long been ignored.”When there is a call it’s not the medical teams that are called out, it’s law enforcement that is called out and they have to make split second decisions on meaty things. The more the education, the more training they have the better they are capable to handle a situation and diffuse some potentially dangerous situations, for them and for the community.”Jones says it is a resolution, not a bill and it does not mandate anything but only encourages more mental health training. She says it would not be required of all law enforcement officers but just those who wold gain expertise on the mental health issue.
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