ACTION ALERT: Contact Your Reps on House Energy & Commerce Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has the power to keep the Murphy Bill (H.R. 2646) from coming to the House floor for a vote, or to demand revisions to the bill.

On October 23, most Democratic committee members came out against several regressive provisions in the bill, which would return the mental health system to the failed policies of the past (see summary below). Our advocacy is having an effect and we need to keep the pressure on!

If your representative signed the letter opposing the harmful provisions in the Murphy bill, please call their offices and let them know you support their position. The signatories are:

G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA), David Loebsack (D-IA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), John P. Sarbanes (D-MD), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John A. Yarmuth (D-KY).

If your Congressional representative is a member the House Energy and Commerce Committee, contact them today and ask them to oppose The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646 ) (the Murphy bill.) For talking points that discuss problems with the bill, see https://realmhchange.org/comprehensive-talking-points/ and https://realmhchange.org/rights-talking-points/

The House Energy and Commerce Committee members are listed here.

Find out how to contact your representative here.

House Energy and Commerce Democrats Express Strong Support for Progressive Mental Health Reform

Almost all the Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee – the Committee considering The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) (the Murphy bill), came out last Friday in strong support of progressive mental health policy reform and against what they identified as harmful provisions of the bill.

In a letter to the committee chair and ranking Democratic member dated October 23, 2015, the Democrats said that they “strongly oppose provisions that would restrict patient’s civil rights,” stating that “regressive reforms …that diminish patient’s rights and create a less welcoming treatment environment will result in worse quality of care.” The full text of the letter is available here.

The letter raised the following key points:

  • Opposition to provisions that would restrict privacy rights under HIPAA by allowing family members access to individuals’ records without their permission and even over their objection.
  • Opposition to provisions that would penalize states for not adopting Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (disingenuously referred to as “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” or AOT).
  • Objections to AOT, including:
    • It is disproportionately applied to people of color
    • It involves the courts and law enforcement in treatment decisions
    • it subjects people to forced treatment who are not ruled dangerous to self or others.
  • Opposition to provisions that would reward states that make it easier to commit people to inpatient units
  • Opposition to provisions that would weaken the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system.
  • Opposition to eliminating SAMHSA

Thank you for taking action and contacting your representatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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