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Gov. Snyder's Budget Proposes Privatizing Mental Health Funding

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed privatizing the public mental health system by moving state funds to Medicaid HMOs.

Crain's Detroit Business reports Thursday that Snyder's $54.9 billion fiscal 2017 budget doesn't cite savings for the switch, but the Michigan Association of Health Plans says it could save millions of dollars through improved efficiency.

The plan calls for moving behavioral health benefits to managed care plans by the end of fiscal 2017. The state currently makes Medicaid payments to what are called "prepaid inpatient health plans," or mental health authorities.

The Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards doubts it will save money. The association says overhead is higher for private plans.

The GOP-controlled Legislature will consider the budget in the coming months and likely approve a plan in early June.

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