During the Congressional recess, you have an opportunity to influence members of Congress to pass historic mental health parity legislation. Use this letter as a template for a letter to the editor of your local or state newspaper. As always, your message will be most effective if you tell your own story of what mental health parity will mean for you and your family.
"To the Editor:
There are only a few weeks remaining before Congress adjourns for the year, and sharp differences between Democrats and Republicans are likely to result in continued stalemate and gridlock in Washington. However, there is one issue on which Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as President Bush, are in agreement and close to a genuine accomplishment for the American people – legislation to ensure equitable coverage in health plans for mental illness treatment. This bill, known as the mental illness insurance parity bill, has already passed the Senate unanimously. It has 273 House cosponsors and has been favorably endorsed by 3 different committees. President Bush is on record in favor a federal parity bill as well. All that is needed is for Congress to work out the relatively minor differences between the House and Senate bills and overcome a small budget offset requirement. There is absolutely no reason Congress cannot do this before the end of the year. People living with mental illness and their families have waited too long for equitable coverage of mental illness treatment. Congress should not adjourn for the year without achieving this important victory for the American people."
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