Below is an email from John Madigan, Senior Director of Public Policy for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I am proud and grateful that the team with whom I went to The Hill two weeks ago, helped make a difference in last night’s passing of the Health Care Reform Bill.
Hello Team AFSP/SPAN USA –
History was indeed changed yesterday. Watch our website today for an update on yesterday’s action in the House, plus a neat “link” that will show you the legislation section by section.
One quick analysis shows what the new law will do –
· More than 10 million uninsured Americans who have a mental or a substance use condition.
· More than 20 million uninsured Americans who have not been able to afford health insurance.
· Thousands of small business owners who have been unable to provide health insurance even for their families and themselves.
· More than 8 million children and adolescents who lack any health insurance.
· More than 155 million Americans with a pre-existing condition.
· Millions of young adults under age 26 entering the workforce for the first time.
· Millions of elderly Americans who cannot afford needed medications.
· Millions of Americans who have become unemployed during the past year.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy reported –
“A key aspect of this legislation that is of particular importance to me is the extension of the mental health parity protections established into law last year by my legislation, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Not only are these protections extended to all plans in the Exchange, but mental health and substance use benefits are a part of the essential benefits package created by this legislation. For the 67 percent of adults and 80 percent of children who need mental health care that do not receive it, this victory cannot be understated. Today marks a new day and a giant leap forward towards our transition from a “sick care” system to one which is preventive, collaborative, and patient-centered.”
Two weeks ago you all experienced how a single person, or a team can make a difference in Washington, DC. This is only the beginning my friends.
This week, AFSP’s Dr. Paula Clayton will be testifying before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs regarding suicide prevention and education in the Indian nations. This invitation is a result of Mary and Brenda Weiler’s visits with Senator Dorgan’s staff while in Washington. Did you all know that suicide rates in the Indian nation are four times the national average, primarily among males ages 25 or less.
Trevor and I are working with Bart Gordon’s office on the Garrett Lee Smith reauthorization bill in the House. The Mental Health Liaison Group has come out with their recommendations for increased funding beyond the President’s recommendations for SAMHSA, Garrett Lee Smith, and the NIMH, NIDA, and NIAAA. AFSP will support these efforts.
A very busy week ahead here in Washington. We are bolstered by the support we have in the field, namely all of you.
On behalf of your small team here in Washington, DC, we thank you!
Senior Director of Public Policy
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/SPAN USA