Track Legislation

Track Legislation

S.1356 - Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011
A bi-partisan proposal to reduce Medicaid costs by substituting generic drugs for patented drugs Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), and John McCain (R-Az) on July 13. The bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Wyden estimates the initial savings amounts to $300 million, and the bill includes measures for sharing costs with states. The pharmaceutical industry supports the bill and cites a pollconducted at the end of 2010 indicting that voters would prefer to reduce costs... []
Bill to end restraints in schools
GeorgeMiller.jpg To make sure schools are safe arenas for youngsters, California's Rep. George Miller reintroduced a bill to end trauma-inducing punishments. []
Threats to Medicaid in Senate vote
June 16 Update The Senate Finance Committee released details of modifications of a bill (HR 4213) the Senate failed to pass yesterday extending federal benefits to help states pay for Medicaid, to continue Medicare physician reimbursements through 2011, and to extend COBRA for people unemployed during the recession. The details of the changes can be downloaded here: Summary of Modifications and Additions []
Threats to Medicaid in Senate vote
June 16 Update The Senate Finance Committee released details of modifications of a bill (HR 4213) the Senate failed to pass yesterday extending federal benefits to help states pay for Medicaid, to continue Medicare physician reimbursements through 2011, and to extend COBRA for people unemployed during the recession. The details of the changes can be downloaded here: Summary of Modifications and Additions []
Bill helping women vets, and caregiving families goes to Obama
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Helping caregiving families and women soldiers distinguishes a sweeping bill for vets (S1963) that passed the House, following thumbs up from the Senate. It will take effect six months after the president signs it into law which he is expected to do. Years of reports, including a story in today's New York Times discuss hurdles families face. . . []
Electronic records for mental and behavioral health care
The Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010 was introduced today by Reps. Patrick Kennedy and Tim Murphy to include incentives from the stimulus funding electronic records for behavioral health. As is noted in press release (below) from Rep. Patrick Kennedy's office, "clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric hospitals, substance use treatment facilities and mental health treatment facilities" were initially omitted from the list of health care providers receiving benefits. The bill they introduced corrects for... []
Youth suicide epidemic worries lawmakers
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You never forget a suicide, said Sen. Byron Dorgan, describing the lasting impact of a friend who took his own life. "It's something you never, ever, ever forget. It's as if it happened 10 seconds ago " Dorgan said during Senate hearings about the suicide epidemic among Native American teens. Last week, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard descriptions . . . []
Ending Medicare hospital cap
Continuing their efforts to end discrimination in Medicare coverage for mental health, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-MAINE) introduced a bill (S 3028) to end the 190-day lifetime cap on psychiatric hospitalization. . . []
Preventing restraints of children -- HR 4247 -- gets bi-partisan committee support.
House Committee on Education and Labor passed HR 4247, a measure opposing restraints and seclusion of children in schools. The bill had widespread support and passed with a bi-partisan vote of 34 to 10 including 5 Republicans. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has been shepherding this issue. A report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) about abuses in residential treatment programs was issued in 2008 and you can download it here. ... []
Obama ready to outlaw hate crimes
Disabilities will be protected under federal provisions of hate crimes in new law on the way to President Obama's desk for signature. Not all lawmakers agreed that the federal government should play a role in federalizing hate crimes. According to the New York Times "Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said he agreed that hate crimes were terrible. "That's why they are already illegal," Mr. DeMint said, asserting that the new law was a dangerous, even "Orwellian" step toward... []
House packages hate crimes bill with defense spending
The House tucked language for a hate-crime bill (HR 2647) including disabilities into the $680 authorization bill for the Pentagon and Department of Defense spending. . . []
Preventing Indian youth suicide (S 1635)
Suicide rates among Native Americans range from 3 1/2 to 10 times greater (depending on the state) than for other youth in America, said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). The Indian Affairs Committee heard testimony on behalf of the "7th Generation Promise: Indian Youth Suicide Prevention Act of 2009 (S 1635)" discussing the epidemic of suicide pointing to the mental health needs of the Indian Health Service. Dr. Yvette Roubideaux explained services are inadequate and fragmented, stitching together a combination of... []
Medical care for military women
Improvements in mental health treatment for women veterans were part of a bill (HR 1211) the House passed by unanimous vote, 408 to zero. Among the provisions are special training for mental health professionals to treat women for sexual abuse and PTSD, and a study of the barriers, including stigma, to seeking treatment. Reports indicate sexual harassment of military women has increased and is often unreported.... []
Stabenow introduces bill (S1136) to close treatment gap
Michigan's Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) introduced a bill to open the door for seriously mentally ill people, now receiving Medicaid, to get comprehensive care in 10 participating states. The Mental Illness Chronic Care Improvement Act (S 1136) is a demonstration program with the potential to close a treatment gap by linking to primary care. Diabetes and heart disease are among the chronic conditions afflicting people with a mental illness and shortening life and Stabenow's proposal recognizes the existing system has... []
Defining PTSD and combat burden
In uncommon combat where injuries do not always take place on a formal battlefield, criteria for assessing combat-related disability may be outdated. A bill to change the meaning of "combat with the enemy" (HR 952) was introduced by Rep. John J. Hall (D-NY) who opened congressional hearings by noting "an unnecessary burden on veterans diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD and other conditions - to prove their combat stressors." ... []
Another try to regulate tobacco
A bill (HR 1256) to allow the FDA to regulate smoking is long overdue said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.). The powerful committee chairman signed up 124 co-sponsors for a smoking prevention bill which he introduced on March 3. (It is similar to a bill (HR 1108) the House passed last year.) Despite support for regulating nicotine, some doubt the FDA is capable of regulating this industry, and critics fear the intent is to eliminate rather than control nicotine. Smoking is... []
Mental health for women, student vets
Hearings to improve services for veterans with special attention to women and students were held with reference to three pending bills. One (HR 784) will list vacancies for mental health jobs in VA facilities. Another (HR 785) proposes "a pilot program to provide outreach and training to certain college and university mental health centers relating to the mental health of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and for other purposes. A third bill (HR 1211) "Women Veterans... []
Preventing child abuse in residential treatment
Abuses in wilderness camps, therapeutic communities, and other residential treatment programs have fallen between the law and regulation. For lack of success in other treatment setting, parents of out-of-control adolescents with mental health, addiction, or behavior problems have turned to unlicensed programs. After hearings and law-suits detailed abuses such as the withholding of food, sex abuse, unlicensed treatment providers, and, in some instances, death, Rep. George Miller (D-Cal) re-introduced a bill (H.R. 911) to establish enforceable standards. Update (23 Feb.... []
Universal Health Insurance
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich) introduced again a bill for single-payer, universal health insurance for comprehensive care. The bill specifies easy registration, a list of comprehensive services, and details about how service providers can participate and will be paid. HR 676 explicitly addresses mental health: (a) In General- The Program shall provide coverage for all medically necessary mental health care on the same basis as the coverage for other conditions. Licensed mental health clinicians shall be paid in the same manner... []
Stumbling toward children's health insurance
The 111th Congress was expected to quickly pass SCHIP once Barack Obama was in office. The House did (289-139), but the Senate has been stalling -- a vote is expected this week, perhaps today -- but party lines are drawn and the debate has become acrimonious. Today CQ reports that two amendments were vetoed that would require cost-sharing and limit enrollment of legal immigrants. Shedding light on the enormity of this problem, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its 2009 report... []
PARITY PASSES -- Kudos
. . .Next steps essential []
Parity bill goes back to House
The Senate voted to approve the rescue bill which contained the mental health parity bill. Now the package returns to the House. See Update on parity ... []
Parity bill goes back to House
The Senate voted to approve the rescue bill which contained the mental health parity bill. Now the package returns to the House. See Update on parity ... []
Michelle's Law (HR 2851) goes to president
The Senate passed a bill (HR 2851) allowing college students to retain their insurance if they are health issues require taking a leave of absence. The measure, which the House approved in July, was named for a student named Michelle who died of colon cancer.... []
Michelle's Law (HR 2851) goes to president
The Senate passed a bill (HR 2851) allowing college students to retain their insurance if they are health issues require taking a leave of absence. The measure, which the House approved in July, was named for a student named Michelle who died of colon cancer.... []

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