Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Republican Senator aids in "giant leap forward in fixing our broken mental health system"

U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

We know that these senators are at odds about almost everything. However, they recently (Dec. 6) got together to push through HR 34, the 21st Century Cures Act.. This is the most comprehensive effort yet to address the country's mental health care system.

Here's what co-sponsor Dr. Cassidy, from the reliably red state of Louisiana, had to say:
“The 21st Century Cures Act marks a giant step forward in fixing our broken mental health system. It institutes comprehensive mental health care reform and makes resources available to the millions that have been previously denied treatment due to a lack of access. I want to thank all those who helped make mental health a priority in Congress, but I especially thank my colleague Senator Chris Murphy. We have been working together to fix our country’s broken mental health system since day one. Without him and the bipartisan effort he has brought to this legislation, we would not be here today. I urge the President to sign this bill and help the millions of individuals and families affected by mental health become whole.”
Said his co-sponsor, Sen. Murphy, from the true-blue Democratic state of Connecticut:
“This is the most comprehensive reform of our nation's mental health laws in a generation, and I'm so thrilled that we drafted it and passed it with support from both Democrats and Republicans. In Connecticut, I've met too many people struggling with mental illness who can't find the care they need, or can't get their insurance company to approve the care once they find it. This bill means millions of dollars in new treatment, and it creates a pathway to a better integrated, more coordinated system for people with serious mental illness. I’m incredibly grateful for Senator Cassidy’s partnership and friendship. He brought a doctor’s knowledge and a dogged determination to our effort, and a lot of people will be better off because of it.”
Sen. Cassidy is a physician. Do we know of any other medical doctor currently serving in the U.S. Senate? Just one comes to mind. That is Sen. John Barrasso of Casper, Wyoming. Both Cassidy and Barrasso have conspired with Mitch McConnell to sink Obamacare. Not sure what the tie-in is. If Obamacare sinks, so does access to health care by millions. Can you improve mental health care when people who most need help are deprived of insurance? 

Sen. Barrasso, of course, recently (Dec. 3) delivered the Republican weekly address on Republican plans to eliminate Obamacare. They see Trump's win as a mandate to return health care to the health care insurance conglomerates where it belongs. Remember how well that worked? Forty million Americans without health insurance, which meant a lot of your friends and family members and neighbors getting sicker while health care execs buy second or third homes in Dick Cheney's Jackson Hole neighborhood. Of course, Wyoming never okayed Medicaid Expansion which would have helped so many of those people that Sen. Barrasso claims to care about. 

I am taking the 21st Century Cures Act as a sign that Democrats and Republicans can work together on at least one issue. Time will tell.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness had this to say on the passage of HR 34: http://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2016/-NAMI-Celebrates-Senate-Passage-of-HR-34. Also see NAMI on Facebook and Twitter.


Susan Dress said...

Maybe good for mental health, not so sure of the rest of the act. According to scienceblogs.com, this bill is a huge give away to the pharmaceutical industry.

Michael Shay said...

I will look into this, Susan. I am hopeful any time I see a step forward for mental health care. It's personal.