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Federal Legislation Update

The chart below outlines current bills of interest to NAMI members and family members. All of these bills have the potential to greatly impact people with mental illness. Please use this chart to help guide your advocacy efforts.

Please note that due to the passage of time since these updates were drafted, the status of some of the bills may have changed.

Bill

Name/Issue

Status

Action steps

S. 486/H.R. 953

Insurance Parity—Legislation to require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses.

Action expected by the full Senate in the fall.

S.486—Contact senators and urge support for S.486 and opposition to a cost increase exemption.

Unnumbered

FY 2005 funding for NIMH & SAMHSA.

Reported by House Appropriations Committee; further action not expected until November.

Urge increases for mental illness research and services.

Unnumbered

FY 2005 funding for veterans' medical care and housing programs.

Reported by House Appropriations Committee; further action not expected until November.

Urge increases for mental illness research and services.

H.R. 4057/H.R. 4866

Federal initiatives to end chronic homelessness.

Introduced in House, action possible in November.

Contact congressional members to support bill.

S. 2634/H.R. 4799

Youth suicide prevention initiatives.

Passed Senate 7/8/04, House action expected in September.

Contact congressional members to support bill.

S. 853/H.R. 2787

Parity for Medicare outpatient services.

Pending before the House and Senate.

Contact congressional members to support bill.

H.R. 4694

The Positive Aging Act of 2004 —would establish an Office of Older Adult Mental Health Services; provide grants to states to screen and treat more elderly; set up demonstration projects in rural and urban settings for the most needy older Americans.

Recently introduced by Representatives Kennedy and Ros-Lehtinen and Senators Breaux, Clinton and Collins.

Contact congressional members to support bill.

S. 1194/H.R. 2387

"Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act" — Grants to states and communities for jail diversion, treatment, reentry services and training.

Passed the Senate, pending in the House of Representatives—action possible before the end of the year.

Please contact your U.S. Representative to urge their support for this important legislation.

S. 1704/H.R. 3243

Keeping Families Together Act —provides grants to states to establish a mental health treatment system and family support services for children with mental illnesses and their families to help end the practice of forcing families to give up legal custody of their child to access mental health services.

S. 1704—pending before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). The bill currently has strong bipartisan support and 12 cosponsors.

H.R. 3243—pending before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. This bill also has strong bipartisan support and 46 cosponsors.

S. 1704—please contact your U.S. Senators, particularly those on the HELP committee (members listed on the Web site at labor.senate.gov) to urge their support for this legislation and ask them to ask Chairman Gregg (R-NH) to move the bill in committee.

H.R. 3243—please contact your U.S. House Representative, particularly those on the Energy and Commerce Committee (members listed at energycommerce.house.gov) to urge their support for this legislation and ask them to ask Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) to move the bill in committee.

S. 1248/H.R. 1350

Legislation to Reauthorize The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (our nation’s special education law).

The bills have passed in their respective chambers—Senate and House. A conference committee will be convened to reconcile the vast differences in the bills.

H.R. 1350 threatens to interfere with the fundamental right of students with disabilities, especially those with mental illnesses, to receive a free and appropriate public education.

S. 1248 is a more balanced bill. Please contact your U.S. Representatives and urge them to support the Senate IDEA Reauthorization bill (S.1248).

S. 622/H.R. 1811

Family Opportunity Act—designed to allow families with a child with a serious disability to buy into Medicaid through a cost-sharing program.

S. 622—passed the Senate by unanimous consent on May 6, 2004.

H.R. 1811—referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Please contact your U.S. House Representatives to urge their support for this important legislation.

S. 1223/H.R. 1359

Health Care Crisis Relief Act— designed to increase the number of qualified mental health providers serving children and adolescents with mental illnesses and their families.

S. 1223—referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

H.R. 1359—referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health.

Please contact your U.S. Representatives and ask for their support of this important legislation designed to help end the crisis in the shortage of child and adolescent mental health providers.

Last updated August 11, 2004


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