Approximately 239,750 to 305,000 Virginians have a serious mental illness (www.namivirginia.org). As of 2014, at a minimum, 25 percent of the American homeless were seriously mentally ill (mentalillnesspolicy.org). The toll this takes on the individuals and their families is immeasurable.
However, there is hope. Many people with mental illness can recover and become healthy, productive citizens. Two crucial components for recovery are medical services and housing. It stands to reason that individuals with a serious illness cannot improve if they have no medical care or place to live.
If Virginia were to opt to expand Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 80,000 adults in Virginia who have mental health disorders and are currently uninsured would gain insurance coverage (www.namivirginia.org).
This is not just a moral and ethical concern but also an economic one. Serious mental illness...
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