Well, they've done it again! We thought this might be the year when common sense would gain a foot-hold and our government would finally recognize that mental illnesses are, well, ILLNESSES! But our fat cats in the US Senate, securely protected by a generous healthcare plan which I believe they themselves create, foiled any possibility of common sense and declined to even bring the following Medicare bill up for a vote.
After you read the following press release from NAMI.com, pleases help me understand this:
How in the world can they fail to bring this legislation up for a vote when the House of Representatives OVERWHELMINGLY and BIPARTISAN-LY approved the very same bill?!!
Senate Falls Short on Medicare Package
June 27, 2008
On June 26, the Senate fell just one vote short of moving forward to pass a package of reforms to the Medicare program, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (HR 6331). The vote was 58-40, 2 votes short of the 60 needed close off debate. Click here to see how your Senators voted.
The House had cleared HR 6331 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 355-59 on June 24 – thanks to your advocacy contacting House members.
HR 6331 includes a number of critical provisions for Medicare beneficiaries living with serious mental illness, including:
- Parity for cost sharing for outpatient mental health services under Part B, gradually moving the current discriminatory 50% requirement down to 20% between 2010 and 2014,
- Statutory authority under the Part D drug benefit for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure broad coverage on prescription drug plan formularies for antipsychotics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants,
- Removal of the current ban on Part D plans offering coverage for benzodiazepines (a critical tool in treatment for acute mania in bipolar disorder and severe anxiety disorders),
- Changes to eligibility for the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program (also known as “Extra Help”) – These reforms include an increase the amount of allowable resources, elimination of barriers to enrollment and the current late enrollment penalty and new exemptions for the value of a life insurance policy and in-kind support and maintenance.
- Eligibility for the LIS significantly lowers premiums and cost sharing for drug coverage and exempts beneficiaries from the “doughnut hole” coverage gap.
Congress must revisit this Medicare legislation in July. As of July 1, payments to physicians under Medicare Part B will be cut by an average of 10% as the physician payment update (known as SGR) expires.
How can these senators ethically FAIL to support a bill which aims to cover all illnesses equally?
Apparently, our senators feel they have the right to decide which U.S. citizens are worthy of care and which should fend for themselves--a draconian survival of the fittest where your wealth and diagnosis determine if you live or die! PATHETIC!
I am absolutely DISGUSTED!
What's next for this self-appointed moral majority? Quadriplegics require hundreds of thousands of dollars of lifelong care! What about smokers? I mean, they bring their shit on themselves! Why should my tax dollars support their oxygen tanks?
Crass? Ridiculous? You bet!
But look out America--tomorrow your diagnosis may be politically incorrect. What will you do when this group of short-sighted, self-serving, non-medical hacks deletes you from their Hallmark list?
Think it can't happen? It just happened, again, to MILLIONS of your friends, family and neighbors--people who won't even reveal to you their struggles because our own government righteously legislates prejudice and stigma against them. Like my colleague, your initial awareness may occur when your loved one ends up on the street or dead.
Think it can't happen to you? Think again! And pay off that mortgage before you buy your next pack of smokes.