APA, NDD Community Urges Congress to Avert Sequestration

Fri July 13, 2012

(Washington, DC) - The American Psychiatric Association and others from the nondefense discretionary (NDD) community delivered a letter to Congress, urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.” Joining the APA in this effort are nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations from all fifty states representing the field of psychiatry, health, education, public safety communities, among others. Despite our diverse interests, we share a common purpose of protecting from further cuts the core government functions that make up NDD spending.

NDD programs are provided by the government for the benefit of all Americans. They support economic growth, strengthen safety and security, and enrich the lives of every American in every state and community across the nation. In 2011, NDD spending represented less than one-fifth of the federal budget and 4.3 percent of our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under strict discretionary caps in the bipartisan Budget Control Act (BCA), by 2021 NDD spending will decline to just 2.8 percent of GDP, the lowest level in at least 50 years. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, cuts to NDD programs will be even deeper.

Sequestration will be especially devastating to mental health and substance abuse treatment and care. Future budget considerations will have great implications on the Sustainable Growth Rate, Graduate Medical Education, access to care and medical research.

“NDD programs are not the reason for our growing debt, and yet they are always the first place lawmakers look for cuts,” said APA CEO and Medical Director, James Scully, Jr., M.D. “Our goal is protect mental health and substance abuse treatment and care from further cuts by educating policymakers about NDD and its small and shrinking share of the economy. It is our hope that Congress will avoid sequestration by adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction that recognizes NDD—including mental health and substance abuse treatment and care—has done its part.”

Please visit our Research, Budget and Appropriations section to see more APA comments and relevant material.

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