Evers Highlights State Efforts for Mental Health and Reproductive Care

The Evers administration has announced plans to issue a standing order guaranteeing access to over-the-counter contraception for BadgerCare Plus patients and to address mental Health challenges in Wisconsin. This announcement, made during Gov. Tony Evers’ State of the State address, comes in response to Republican lawmakers’ latest abortion ban proposal, which Evers has vowed to veto.

The standing order will allow BadgerCare Plus to be treated as a prescription for over-the-counter contraception, including emergency contraception. This decision is partially a reaction to the recent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the first daily, oral contraceptive pill for use without a prescription. The standing order will enable individuals on BadgerCare Plus to access contraception at no out-of-pocket cost.

Evers also pushed for the expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage to a year after giving birth, highlighting Wisconsin as one of the four states in the U.S. that hasn’t accepted the Medicaid postpartum expansion. Despite the passage of SB 110 in the Senate, the Assembly has not taken it up, and Evers urged bipartisan cooperation to pass the bill.

In addition to reproductive health issues, Evers also announced the creation of an Interagency Council on Mental Health to address what he described as an ongoing crisis. The council will develop a statewide plan to address prevention, increase awareness, reduce stigma, ensure access to quality care, and build capacity among caregivers and community partners to address the mental health crisis.

The state of mental health in Wisconsin has been a growing concern, with high levels of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts among youth. Evers emphasized the need for more action to address these challenges and to make a difference in 2024.

The announcement of the Interagency Council on Mental Health comes as part of ongoing efforts to address mental health issues in the state. It reflects a broader push to expand access to mental and behavioral health services statewide, as well as to review and expand current programs using federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Overall, the Evers administration’s proactive measures to address reproductive health and mental health concerns demonstrate a commitment to improving the well-being of Wisconsin residents. As the state continues to grapple with these issues, the implementation of these initiatives will be crucial in providing support and resources to those in need.

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