Walt Maddox proposes already-existing mental health cabinet position at bus tour campaign stop
At a stop on his statewide bus tour that is currently underway, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, offered attendees some of the health care policy proposals he would put forward if elected governor.
Among the items that Maddox included according to a tweet from Montgomery’s WSFA were the expansion of Medicaid, money for “school-based mental health,” the creation of a mental health cabinet position and legalizing sports gaming and taxing gaming for funding to expand “crisis care units.”
However, Maddox’s proposal for a mental health cabinet position is a position that already exists. In 2017, Ivey appointed Lynn Beshear to her cabinet to serve as the commissioner for the Department of Mental Health.
He suggests four things to make mental health better if governor. 1- expand Medicaid 2- put $25 million for school-based mental health 3- make mental health a cabinet position 4- legalizing sports gaming and taxing gaming in state to expand crisis care units
— Alabama Politics (@AlabamaPolitics) September 24, 2018
In that role, Beshear also serves on other boards related to mental health, including the Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, the Securing Alabama’s Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council and the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force.
Ivey iterated her commitment to mental health, noting it was an appointment she made very early in her tenure as Alabama’s governor.
“As Governor, I am committed to ensuring we continue to help Alabamians lead healthier, safer and happier lives. Shortly after being sworn in, I quickly appointed an experienced and dedicated new commissioner to the Department of Mental Health who understands the complexity and importance of this work, secured additional funding to create new programs and services, and ensured the Department of Mental Health had a voice on a number of commissions and tasks forces. I’m proud of the progress made so far, and I look forward to continuing to work together with educators, health care providers, and job creators across the state to improve life for our children, youth and adults who are affected by mental illnesses.”
Coming out of the legislative session earlier this year, Ivey secured $11 million for behavioral health services for Medicaid-eligible children to be administered by Beshear’s Department of Mental Health.