Target: United States Senate
Goal: Fund community behavioral health centers nationwide
A bipartisan bill that would expand access to mental health care has been introduced in the Senate, but has stalled as the underlying gun violence bill was pulled. Urge the Senate to vote on the mental health care bill regardless of their views on firearms legislation.
The Stabenow-Blunt Amendment, or the Excellence in Mental Health Act, would provide $1.4 billion in Medicaid funding over a 10-year period for community behavioral health centers nationwide. It has been tied in with gun control legislation, and has been stalled for months because the Senate failed to garner enough votes to pass a separate amendment on background checks for buying firearms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the gun violence bill, which has left the mental health care amendment in limbo without a vote.
Recently, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a separate mental health bill with a 95-2 vote. The Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, will strengthen suicide prevention programs and early intervention for mental illness. The overwhelming majority vote shows that there is clear bipartisan support for bolstering the mental health care system.
President Barack Obama said recently that mental health issues must be brought “out of the shadows.” Urge the Senate to vote in favor of the Stabenow-Blunt Amendment on the Senate floor, effectively shining light on the issue by expanding mental health care services for Americans with mental illness nationwide.
I urge you to support the Sabenow-Blunt Amendment, also known as the Excellence in Mental Health Act, and bring it to a vote on the Senate floor. It is unfortunate that the Excellence Act has been tied in with gun control and background check legislation, because this obscures the underlying benefits of real mental health care reform.
The Excellence Act would provide $1.4 billion in Medicaid funding over a 10-year period for community behavioral health centers nationwide. Access to quality mental health care services would be expanded for Americans who would not have access to these services otherwise, such as the uninsured and those with low income.
The Senate has demonstrated overwhelming bipartisan support for the expansion of mental health care services by passing the Harkin-Alexander Amendment, also known as the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act. It is vital that the Senate demonstrate this unified front again, regardless of your views on firearm legislation. Support the Excellence Act and secure a vote before the full Senate, and pass this legislation. It would benefit Americans with mental illness and bring mental health care issues “out of the shadows,” as President Barack Obama recently said we must do as a nation.
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Photo credit: publik15 via Flickr