Check out what’s happening with mental health legislation and cheer up. Republicans and Democrats are working together to address problems that have been simmering on congressional back burners for decades.
Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) hosted a Senate Summit on Mental Health on May 26, where they were joined by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to enlist support for the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S 2680). That bill represents the joint work of all four senators and was voted out of the appropriate Senate committee on March 16. It has the best chance of passage.
“Mental Health Reform: A Patchwork of Care” reports highlights of the bill. Among them are: increased access to care for veterans, women and children; efforts to move people from jails and prisons into mental health treatment programs; promotion of evidence-based treatment; and grant money to treat mental illness on colleges and universities. See also the analysis by NAMI-WI of the bill. The related House bill (2646) has controversial provisions that are impeding its progress.
“Transforming and Modernizing our Nation’s Mental Health and Addiction System” offers a description of 16 mental health bills introduced in the House and Senate. The bills are categorized under 10 topics such as integrated care, early intervention, and workforce issues. You can follow the progress of any bill by clicking on govtrack.us and entering the number of the bill.
Senator Ron Johnson (R) is facing a strong challenge from Russ Feingold (D). Johnson should be listening to voters about mental health legislation, particularly since it has become a bipartisan issue. Send him an email. I did and received a generic response saying that he would keep my views in mind.