PAUL WELLSTONE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION EQUITY ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - March 06, 2008)
HON. PATRICK J. MURPHY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2008
* Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of a teenager from Ben salem, Pennsylvania for whom mental health care came too late. I rise in favor of a health care system that works for those in need.
* This legislation not only promotes fairness for those with mental illness, it also will not pre-empt stronger State laws. Laws, such as Pennsylvania's Act 106, which has saved countless lives.
* I stand with a Republican State representative from my district--Gene DiGirolamo--as we fight to preserve these critical laws in conference. Mr. DiGiralomo of Bensalem is a leading advocate for mental health parity and has worked tirelessly for health care laws that are fair and just.
* Mr. Speaker, this bill is bipartisan and long overdue. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting for it.
* The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act is designed to end discrimination against those seeking treatment for mental illness.
* This discrimination is real, and it affects the lives of millions of people every day.
* We have all heard the stories of the negative stigma surrounding post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury from veterans returning from battle, and each of us has a family member or friend who has struggled at one time or another with mental illness.
* Reauthorizing this important measure has waited for more than a decade--that is too long.
* I am proud to be supporting it today and proud to have fought to include provisions that will keep this bill from pre-empting stronger State laws.
* Act 106 is an example of a life-saving, crime-reducing law in Pennsylvania that will be preserved because of this important bill.
* Act 106 not only helps addicts regain control of their lives, but also makes our State a safer and more pleasant place to live.
* This protection is just one of many important items included in this bill, and Act 106 is just one of many State laws that we should preserve.
* Mr. Speaker, this bill is critically important and while I am proud to support it, I must register some reservations about how we go about paying for it.
* As a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat, upholding the PAYGO rules are important, but the offsets chosen for this legislation are ones that have been used for another piece of legislation.
* We are a Nation at war and a Nation in debt. Each person in this country owes more than $30,000 in debt because of the reckless spending habits of the past.
* We need to make sure we pay for the bills we pass, but I have some serious concerns about passing two bills--two Democratic priorities--that are paid for with the same money.
* I urge our leadership, that as we go to conference on both of these pieces of legislation we ensure that we have a fiscally responsible approach that is also equitable for all those involved.
* Mr. Speaker, this bill is a great step forward, and it has the support of doctors, nurses, and families across the country.
* I am proud to cast my vote in favor of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.