Republicans Flip Flop On Mental Health Care Support
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Feb 12, 2013
Last month, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill designed to improve mental health care in the United States in light of the recent mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and elsewhere. The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013, which was praised by mental health advocates, was co-sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and six Democrats.
“As a nation, we must learn how to best care for the mentally ill in the hope that we may help to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook,” Blunt said in a press release introducing the bill.“I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent senseless acts of violence and protect our children in our schools, and setting up these mental health first aid training programs across the country is a good step in the right direction.”
But Blunt, Ayotte and Rubio haven’t always been the strongest champions of mental health care. In fact, they have voted or spoken out against key pieces of legislation designed to help those with mental illnesses, along with over a dozen of their Republican colleagues.
In 2008, Congress passed the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The bill, passed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program and signed by President George W. Bush, requires health insurance companies to cover mental health services at parity to physical health services.
In the years since its passage, the law has reduced certain copays and deductibles, but it has had a limited impact because the White House has not yet issued a final ruling on what exactly parity means. The Obama administration is expected to announce a final decision in the coming months. Once final regulations are issued, the law is expected to increase accessibility to mental health care by providing more services at a lower cost to people who need them.
Mental health care advocates have praised the law as a landmark victory for those suffering from mental illness.“It was really fortuitous thing that the parity law was passed,” said Ron Honberg, the national director for Policy and Legal Affairs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Blunt -- who also announced last week that he is co-sponsoring another bill to improve the mental health care system, the Excellence in Mental Health Act -- voted against the parity law in 2008, when he was a member of the House of Representatives.
At a press conference announcing the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which would increase federal funding for community mental health centers, Blunt said, "I’m a supporter of parity (for mental health care) in insurance coverage, but it doesn’t help if you don’t have insurance. You need somewhere to go."
He did not respond to HuffPost's repeated requests for comment about his 2008 vote.
Blunt was not the only Republican member of the House who voted against the parity law and is now touting improvements to mental health care as a solution to gun violence.
#2 Feb 12, 2013
Speaking of Sociopaths that Flip Out, are you settling in for a nice night of "Projecting" what you perceive in your sick mind as Me, the Great Boogeyman that makes you Potty your Pants?
Have a Fun time Psycho.....just do not leave Mommy's Spare room and go out among the Children!
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