Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Senate finally gets it right!

Congratulations to every reader with mental illness! By the year 2014, only SIX years from now, we will be officially sick! That is, those of us unfortunate enough to rely on Medicare to pay our medical bills will finally be treated equally by our own government. A mental illness will be treated as an illness, not as moodiness, dysfunction, or my personal favorite, laziness.
Yesterday, the Senate stepped up and passed the Medicare Reform Bill (HR 6331) which I ranted about last week. This means rather than receiving 50% coverage for our care, mentally ill Medicare beneficiaries will gradually be bumped up to the customary 80% coverage which our diagnosed-with-anything-but-mental-illness counterparts currently receive. The Shrub promises a veto, but it appears the Senate even has that one covered. They overwhelmingly approved the bill, 69-30. Way to go, guys and gals! Maybe there is room for common sense among our policy-makers after all. Thanks for contributing to this historic moment in the treatment of our mentally ill citizens.


Margin Sufficient to Override Expected Presidential Veto
July 10, 2008

By a vote of 69-30, the Senate on July 9 passed a critical package of Medicare beneficiary improvements. In addition to preventing a cut in fees to physicians, the legislation (HR 6331) also makes improvement to the Part D drug benefit and establishes parity for cost sharing for outpatient mental health services. Yesterday’s vote was on motion to cut off debate; the Senate later cleared the package by voice vote. The margin was sufficient to override an expected presidential veto – the House passed the legislation on June 24 by a 355-59 margin, more than enough to override a veto.

A Major Victory for Medicare Beneficiaries Living With Mental Illness
The Senate vote was a tremendous win for long sought improvement to the Medicare program. The voice of NAMI advocates from a across the country made a huge difference in securing additional support in the Senate. In addition, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) was present for the vote, despite his ongoing treatment for brain cancer.

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