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Romney dodges question on improving access to mental healthcare

February 29, 2012
by Nick Zubko, Associate Editor
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Mitt Romney narrowly won the Republican presidential primary in his native state of Michigan last night. But while he was campaigning last week in Shelby Township, an area just 30 miles north of Detroit, someone in the audience asked the former governor about his policies for improving access to mental health care in the United States.

The gentleman wanted to know what Romney’s plans were for addressing what he called “a very dangerous situation," citing events such as the Tucson, Ariz., shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last year by a “mentally ill person who didn’t get the care he needed.”

“When your father was the governor of this state he was a leader in child care and mental healthcare and it’s now become horrible,” the questioner began. “This whole country has a deplorable record when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. I would like to know, what’s your position on fixing it?"

Here’s what Romney had to say in response:

“We spend money very ineffectively … and I will look at the area of mental health spending and how it’s spent state by state and federally and how we can do a better job. But let me take an example I’m more familiar with, which is something that’s also important, which is workforce training.”

Later Romney went on to talk about improving education, another example he’s “more familiar with,” then got a few compulsory applause by talking about state rights. Somehow, Romney sees these issues as being intertwined with improving access to mental healthcare; or, he just didn’t know how to answer the real question.

“For me,” Romney added, “issues of the nature you’ve described, mental health issues, education issues, care for the poor, workforce training, these should be brought home closer to the people.”

Click play below to watch the discussion in its entirety.

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Nick Zubko

Associate Editor

Nick Zubko

@BH_Zubko

www.behavioral.net

Nick Zubko is associate editor of Behavioral Healthcare.