Block Grants:

Proposed Formulas for Substance Abuse, Mental Health Provide More Equity

HRD-87-109BR: Published: Jul 16, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the effects of new proposed funding allocation formulas for the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health (ADAMH) block grant, focusing on: (1) how well the formulas would equalize available service levels for at-risk populations across the nation; and (2) whether the formulas would provide similar funding levels for states with similar abilities to pay for their own programs.

GAO found that: (1) the current ADAMH formula allocates over twice as much federal funding for states with high levels of program support, while the proposed formulas would increase federal funding in low-service states and narrow the disparity by 25 percent; (2) wealthier states currently receive 44-percent higher allotments than poorer states, while the proposed formulas would increase funding allocations for the poorest states by 35 percent and decrease allocation for the wealthiest states by 33 percent; (3) the proposed formulas would provide that states with equal abilities to pay would receive similar allocations; and (4) mental health allocations are already targeted to states with the lowest ability to pay, but the proposed formulas would equalize allocations among states with similar abilities to pay.

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