Biden announces new money for mental health

Vice President Biden said Tuesday that the treatment available to many Americans with mental health problems is "unacceptable," while announcing $100 million in new federal funds to expand community-based services and treatment centers.

The Obama administration, through the 2010 health-care law and other initiatives, has tried to focus attention on the inadequacy of mental health and addiction care for many Americans diagnosed with those problems. The issue gained urgency after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., a year ago, a crime carried out by a mentally disturbed gunman.

Biden said the Department of Health and Human Services would soon make available $50 million in new funding for community health centers looking to expand treatment for people diagnosed with mental health and addiction problems. The money comes through the Affordable Care Act, as President Obama's health-care law is known.

The Agriculture Department will also make $50 million in loans available to rural clinics looking to expand facilities, a way of alleviating a shortage of mental health care outside urban areas.

Scott Wilson is the chief White House correspondent for the Washington Post. Previously, he was the paper’s deputy Assistant Managing Editor/Foreign News after serving as a correspondent in Latin America and in the Middle East.

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Vincent Bzdek · December 10, 2013

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