As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rewarding Good Behavior In The Congress

The House and the Senate racked up a couple victories this week. The House passed the long-awaited Wellstone Mental Health And Addiction Equity Act. This would allow for parity in how insurers cover mental health and addiction treatment as compared to physical health treatment. The bipartisan vote was 268-148. Considering that our troops can't even get mental health on the battlefield, the need for mote mental health professionals is urgent. But by ensuring that this treatment must be covered, it'll create a good incentive for industry, research and potential breakthroughs. You should be covered if your damaged organ is your brain as surely as if it's your arm. Here's CA-42 House candidate Ron Shepston on the personal side of this:

My brother has been diagnosed with a mental illness but won’t tell us what it was. Before she passed away, my mom was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic so this issue is very close to home for me. Mr. Miller’s complete disregard for the consequences of marginalizing those with mental illness in an ill-conceived pursuit of economic nirvana displays a scary callousness so characteristic of Republican members of Congress. Given all the facts Americans would make the decision that the kind of society they want to live in would be one which considered those who struggle with mental illness in while contributing to society. Republicans’ only hope is to obscure the facts.

And the Senate approved by an overwhelming margin an overhaul to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, boosting the annual budget and revamping facilities, banning lead in all children's products, and raising fines for non-compliance. You'll recall that the acting head of the CPSC asked NOT to give her more money to do her job. But the drumbeat of toxic products from overseas, particularly China, made it impossible to stand by idly. The Republicans tried to water down the bill through a series of amendments that were rejected, and they should have those votes draped around their necks in their re-election campaigns.

In addition to these passages, the House is trying to overturn the horrid EPA decision denying a waiver to California for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and three powerful chairmen in the House are calling for a halt to telecom immunity in the face of a new whistleblower revelation that communications were going directly into the NSA through a special circuit. Maybe we've turned a corner.

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