Advocacy

Personal experience with mental illness and navigating the mental health system makes family members and people with mental illness uniquely qualified to both educate elected officials on issues of importance and advocate for the policies and funding necessary to provide services that are essential to people with mental illness. Click here to find your local, state, and national legislators.

Advocacy Alerts

NAMI PA, Main Line sends electronic Advocacy Alerts in support of legislation and policy to benefit individuals with mental illness and their families. If you would like to receive these Advocacy Alerts or participate in other advocacy, please contact Kristine Songster. Recent Advocacy Alerts are shown below and additional information about advocacy is available in the related files (see links at the bottom of this page).

Advocacy Alert: A new health reform bill-more dangerous than ever (September 18, 2017)

(Cross-posted from NAMI National)

Just a few months ago, you helped defeat health reform efforts that would have left millions without insurance and cut insurance protections. But Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) just introduced a new bill that is even more dangerous for people with mental illness.
With any health reform bill, NAMI asks the simple question, “Will Americans have more mental health coverage and better care?” With the Graham-Cassidy bill, the answer is unequivocally no.
While it is being promoted as offering more flexibility, their bill will make it harder for people to get psychiatric medications, case management, and mental health services-and other people with mental illness will lose their coverage entirely.
Tell your members of Congress vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy Bill.
The Graham-Cassidy bill:
  • Allows states to drop the requirement to cover mental health care. Today, Exchange plans are required to cover essential health benefits, which include treatment for mental health and substance use conditions. Under this bill, each state will have the freedom to drop or change these requirements, putting mental health benefits at risk.
  • Shifts Medicaid funding to a “per capita cap” system. Shifting to per capita cap funding (a fixed amount of funding per person) may sound reasonable, but would not keep up with growth in costs and needs. This will force states to cut Medicaid services and eligibility, which will harm children and adults with mental illness.
  • Effectively ends Medicaid expansion. One in three people covered by Medicaid expansion plans lives with a mental health or substance use condition. Under this bill, Medicaid expansion will be converted to a smaller,temporary block grant that states could use for health coverage or any other health purpose, with no guarantee of mental health coverage.
  • Reduces help to purchase health insurance. Block grants will provide a fixed amount of temporary federal funding to replace insurance subsidies, severely cutting federal help for people to buy insurance. This will leave many people unable to afford the coverage they need for mental health treatment.

Advocacy Alert: Don’t Let Congress Devastate Mental Health Coverage (July 26, 2017)

(Cross-posted from NAMI National)

The Senate just took the first step toward a vote this week on a health reform bill. To date, all the Senate health reform proposals hurt people with mental illness.

You didn’t elect your Senators to dismantle mental health coverage for millions of Americans.

No one with a mental health condition should ever be in danger of losing their mental health coverage.

No one with a mental health condition should be forced to wait for basic care or not be able to get needed medications or treatment.

No one with a mental health condition should end up on the streets or in the back of a police car because Congress voted to strip away mental health coverage.

No matter how many times you have contacted your Senators before, reach out TODAY. Tell your Senators to vote NO on any health reform bill that fails people with mental illness.

Tweet at your Senators, call (202) 224-3121 or email by clicking here.

Advocacy Alert: We Need Sustainable Revenue that is not tied to Medicaid Cuts! (July 24, 2017)

(Cross-posted from Mental Health Partnership’s Take 5.)

The PA General Assembly still has not passed a revenue plan as part of the 2017-2018 state budget! Take five minutes and let your legislators know that we need a fair, sustainable revenue plan, that does not harm Medicaid.

Click Here to send an email to your State Senator and Governor Wolf asking for the Medicaid provisions to be taken out of the bill

Click Here to find your state senator and their contact information. Follow the script below, asking them to vote no on Medicaid proposals!

Click Here for Governor Wolf’s contact information, and ask him to veto the bill if the Medicaid provisions are not removed!

“Hello, my name is _____ and I am a constituent residing at ______. I was recently made aware that the Senate is trying to pass a revenue bill that would impose higher co-pays for children with disAbilities and work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. These proposals are cruel, will create unnecessary paperwork, and will cost more money than they save. Please tell Senator ____ to oppose these proposals.”

ACTION ALERT

Senate Republicans yesterday released a new version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. The Medicaid caps and cuts in the new version and the repeal of the Medicaid expansion remain the same. There are now added harmful provisions that will eliminate access to mental health benefits for millions of Americans who rely on private health insurance. READ more in our statement on the revised bill: http://www.bazelon.org/…/uplo…/2017/07/Statement_7-14-17.pdf

Disappointingly, almost all of the Senators who had strongly stated opposition to the current bill are now softening their opposition. These Senators need to hear from their constituents NOW! We delayed this bill and now we must stop it for good. Join us! READ and TAKE ACTION THIS WEEKEND with our latest alert: http://bit.ly/A714BCRA

ACTION ALERT

The Pennsylvania House passes a bill with major changes to the state’s Medicaid program. On Tuesday, the House passed HB 59 that includes proposals that would have a negative effect on Pennsylvania adults, children, and families. Some changes include:

  • imposing work requirements on certain medical assistance recipients.
  • charging a Medicaid premium for children with disabilities whose families receive income 1,000 percent above the federal poverty level. HB 59 now moves to the Senate.

Contact your State Senators TODAY

asking them to:

  • say NO to adding Medicaid premiums.
  • say NO to adding work requirements.
  • say NO to HB 59.
  • PROTECT coverage so ALL children in Pennsylvania have access to the services they need.

NAMI is nonpartisan. We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families.

Senators are back from July 4th recess, where they heard from advocates like you about the harmful consequences of the Senate health reform bill (the Better Care Reconciliation Act).

Thank you for speaking up, but the fight is not over. The future of mental health coverage is being decided right now.

Currently, 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental illness, but only half get needed treatment. This bill will make it even harder for people to get psychiatric medications, case management and mental health services.

If this bill passes, millions of Americans will lose coverage for mental health care.

Senators need to keep hearing from you. Tell them to oppose any health reform bill that:

  • Leaves fewer Americans with coverage for mental illness
  • Takes away protections for people with mental health conditions
  • Caps or limits Medicaid
  • Ends Medicaid expansion

Tell your Senators to #Act4MentalHealth to ensure that we have more coverage for mental health care, not less. Email Now! 

 

ACTION ALERT

State lawmakers target Medical Assistance loophole to close budget deficit.

In an attempt to fund the state budget, Pennsylvania state legislators are considering adding premiums on coverage for children with disabilities who are receivinng Medical Assistance (Medicaid).

This applies to families who receive Medical Assistance through Category PH-95 (loophole). Most families already pay a premium for their private insurance, but their child with a disability needs Medical Assistance to supplement costs and services not covered by their primary coverage.

  Contact your state lawmaker RIGHT NOW asking them to:

  • leave Medical Assistance through PH-95 alone.
  • not add premiums on coverage for children with disabilities, as included in HB 1354, p28, line 16.
  • protect coverage so ALL children in Pennsylvania have access to the services they need.
NAMI is nonpartisan. We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families.

Advocate Today to Preserve Access to Mental Health Care

Every great movement is fueled by powerful voices.

This is the time to raise your voice for mental health and say, “We need more mental health care, not less.”

Join NAMI’s Virtual Hill Day and more than 1,000 NAMI advocates who will be meeting in-person on Capitol Hill to ask Senators to #Act4MentalHealth today.

Make a call. Send an email. Tweet.

Tell your Senators to oppose any health reform bill that leaves fewer people with coverage for mental health care.
Go to http://bit.ly/2sjvp2q for tips on three ways to contact your Senators, including a sample script. Or you can call Sen. Toomey (202-224-4254) or email him.


Vote NO on the BCRA

The Senate health reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), will take us backwards.

The BCRA will allow states to let health insurance plans drop mental health and substance use coverage. It is outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional.
The Senate bill will also devastate community mental health programs by cutting Medicaid funding, making it harder for people to get psychiatric medications, case management and mental health services. It will result in less mental health care and shift people with mental illnesses into already-strained emergency rooms, hospitals and jails.

Help keep the promise of better mental health care alive. Tell your Senators: Vote NO on the BCRA.

Contact Sen. Toomey to stand up for Mental Health

The Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act was released yesterday. This bill includes provisions that would have devastating effects on access to care for individuals with mental illness. It would phase out the expansion of Medicaid, substantially reduce the funding for Medicaid in future years, allow states to require Medicaid recipients to work, and allow states to opt out of requiring insurers to include coverage of mental health treatment (http://www.businessinsider.com/senate-healthcare-bill-trumpcare-ahca-details-2017-6). Please call Sen. Toomey (202-224-4254) or email him (https://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact).

 

Ask Senator Pat Toomey to PROTECT Mental Health Coverage and Medicaid

A small group of Senators, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is working behind closed doors to draft a new health care bill that could include Medicaid caps. Medicaid Caps will make it harder for people to get mental health services, psychiatric medications and case management. Medicaid caps would DEVASTATE mental health services. Ask Sen. Pat Toomey to stand up for mental health care and reject cuts to Medicaid. #DontCutOurCare

Tell Your State Senator NO to House Bill 218

In April, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 218.
The state budget bill for 2017-18 includes deep cuts to several human-services programs:
  • $9 million in cuts to mental health and substance use disorder funding means more Pennsylvanians would be institutionalized instead of served in the community.
    • Reduction of $5 million in community mental health county allocations.
    • Reduction of $4 million to county behavioral health funding.
  • $4.8 million in cuts to counties.
  • $6 million in cuts to home and community-based services.

PA House Bill 218 will have a devastating impact on vulnerable Pennsylvanians if passed as is.

 

Follow these steps:

  • Type in your address
  • Hit search
  • Be sure to look for your legislator in the PA SENATE

Tell your state senator cuts to mental health and human services are NOT acceptable.

 

 

Call Today to Support Mental Health!

The American Health Care Act passed by the House would have devastating consequences for access to needed mental health care. The Senate has set up a working group of 13 Senators to draft the Senate’s own version of health care reform. Senator Toomey chairs the Subcommittee on Health for the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Casey serves on the Senate Health Labor Education and Pensions Committee. This means that it’s especially important for Pennsylvanians to speak up.

Get in touch with our senators this week to try to shape the Senate bill, which is probably going to be voted on by the full Senate by the end of June. Please call: Senator Toomey – (215) 241-1090 or (202) 224-4254 Senator Casey – (215) 405-9660 or (202) 224-6324.  

Here are key points to emphasize:

· Preserve Medicaid without any per capita cap; Medicaid is an efficient program that delivers important services for individuals with mental illness.
· Preserve Medicaid expansion which has substantially improved coverage for single adults with mental illness.
· Preserve the current protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
· Preserve the requirement to include coverage of mental health and substance use; do not let states opt out of this requirement.

 

24 million will lose mental health coverage…..

Coverage for mental health care helps people get treatment when they need it-helping them to stay in school, on the job and in recovery.

But the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Congress’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, would reduce funding for health coverage-from insurance plans to Medicaid-and put mental health care at risk.

Under the AHCA, 14 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid.

In the middle of an opioid crisis and the highest suicide rate in 30 years, Congress shouldn’t desert its commitment to coverage for mental health and substance use treatment.

Tell Congress that 24 million Americans losing mental health coverage is wrong.

Email now: http://bit.ly/2nsMx81

Tell Congress to Keep What Works!

Cross-posted from NAMI National on February 20, 2017.

Congress is on break, so now is the time to tell Senators and Representatives about the importance of quality, affordable mental health coverage.

1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition and coverage for mental health care is critical to early identification, treatment and recovery.

Go to a town hall meeting, call 202-224-3121 or email your members of Congress to stand up for mental health coverage and insurance safeguards.


What to Say:
  • I am your constituent.
  • I am a person living with a mental health condition or I am a family member of someone living with a mental health condition or I am a professional in the mental health field.
  • The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid provide life-saving mental health coverage so Americans get treatment when they need it.
  • Do NOT repeal the ACA without a replacement that maintains or improves mental health coverage and insurance protections.
  • Do NOT allow cuts or caps to Medicaid funding that leave states and communities paying more.
If you can’t make it to a town hall meeting or have time for a call, make your voice heard by  emailing right now.

Call in Today to Support Mental Health Care Access in PA

Cross-posted from Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Take5 program on February 13, 2017.

Today is the day! (Or tomorrow if you can’t make it today.) Join us and our partners at Resources for Human Development today for a statewide Call-In Day to support the more than 1.1 million people in Pennsylvania who have gained healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Your advocacy is making a difference.  Already, we are seeing signs that legislators are acknowledging that repairing issues in the Affordable Care Act have more support from their constituents than repealing coverage. This shift means that your persistent advocacy is paying off!
 
Your story is needed to shape healthcare in America!  We are hearing that legislators are increasingly feeling pressure to have a comprehensive plan in place to provide health coverage before repeal of the ACA. We are also hearing that they are considering significant cuts to the Medicaid program. Our legislators need to understand the impact that a cutting from these health programs would have on your lives, especially if you benefit from Medicaid, from subsidies on the insurance marketplace, or from the fact that mental health and substance use treatment are now required benefits in most individual and small group plans. Your story will make a difference!

Please take 5 today to call your Senator and Representative to ask them to preserve mental health access and health coverage for all Pennsylvanians! Here’s an example script to get you started:

” Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent residing at _____. I’m calling today to ask Senator/Representative _____ to protect health coverage in our state. I am a constituent who cares about people with mental health conditions and I have concerns that repealing the ACA and cutting funding from Medicaid will hurt people with behavioral health conditions. More than 1.1 million people have gained health coverage in Pennsylvania through Medicaid expansion and the ACA, and nearly a quarter of those have accessed treatment for mental health or substance use disorder. I urge Senator/Representative _____ not to cut funding from Medicaid or repeal coverage without a solid plan in place for providing access to behavioral health coverage.”

You can find contact numbers for your Senators here.
You can find contact numbers for your Representatives here.

Please join us in this important effort to make sure that people can access healthcare in PA!

 

Can’t make the call today? There’s also a call in day tomorrow convened by MHASP’s partners at Pennsylvania Health Access Network!

Want to be involved in our statewide Healthcare and Mental Health coalition?
Contact dcampanella@mhasp.org for more information.
If you prefer not to call your legislators, you can also email them.

Recovery at Risk!

Cross-posted from NAMI National on February 1, 2017.

In Congressional hearings this week, members of Congress will discuss the pros and cons of Medicaid and the health insurance marketplaces.

Nearly 1 out of 3 people covered by Medicaid expansion live with a mental health or substance use condition. And people with marketplace insurance plans have fair and equal mental health coverage. With this coverage, people have access to mental health services that support recovery.

“[Medicaid] has helped me reach recovery, getting me back to work and school. Now I am getting training so I can help others as a peer-support specialist. Helping others recover, and go back to work, and obtain wellness.” Crystal L., Arizona

Let your members of Congress know how Medicaid or insurance marketplace plans are helping you or somebody you know.

Cross-posted from NAMI National.  NAMI is nonpartisan.  We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families.

Congress is debating the future of mental health care right now.  If there’s one thing we know, they need to hear from you.

Stand up with thousands of others.

Tell your members of Congress that you want your mental health care protected.

Email Now

NAMI is nonpartisan. We support policies that help people with mental health conditions and their families.
Debate is raging over the future of health care-insert your voice into the conversation to protect mental health.
Call Congress.
Ask them to protect Medicaid and insurance safeguards that help millions of Americans who get mental health care.
Call (202) 224-3121, press #2 and enter your zip code
“As a constituent, I would like the Representative to protect people with mental illness who can’t afford to lose health coverage. Please preserve Medicaid and insurance safeguards that help people get mental health care. Thank you.”
Please forward to other mental health warriors.
Want to do more? Call our Senators with the same message. Call (202) 224-3121, press #1 and enter your zip code.

Act Today to Protect Health Care!

The Senate is planning to pass a budget that will begin the process of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) as soon as TOMORROW.   This would make it possible for Congress to take health coverage away from millions of people before having a plan to replace it.

While Congress has passed many bills to repeal the ACA in the past, it was clear that President Obama would veto them.  But this is not the case with President-elect Donald Trump, who says he will sign an ACA repeal bill.
TAKE ACTION

Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office.

Tell your Senator:

  • Vote NO on the Budget package that leads to eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
  • People with mental illnesses need access to comprehensive and affordable health care.

We need the Medicaid expansion and mental health parity.

For more information, please see the more complete message below.

ACT TODAY TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE

 

Congressional leaders have declared that one of their first goals in the new Congress is to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) and “replace” it.  While Congress has passed many bills to repeal the ACA in the past, it was clear that President Obama would veto them.  But this is not the case with President-elect Donald Trump, who says he will sign an ACA repeal bill.

The Senate is planning to pass a budget that will begin the process of repealing the ACA as soon as TOMORROW.   This would make it possible for Congress to take health coverage away from millions of people before having a plan to replace it.

 

We must educate Members of Congress now about why the ACA is so important to everyone, and especially to people with mental illnesses.

There are key provisions in the ACA that support the health and well-being of people with mental illnesses that we cannot afford to lose:
  • Because of the ACA, millions of Americans with mental illnesses or substance use disorders have access to health insurance thanks to the Medicaid Expansion. This coverage has saved lives.
  • Because of the ACA, Mental Health Parity was expanded and now provides protections to millions of more Americans.
  • Because of the ACA, health insurers can’t deny you health insurance based on a mental illness.
  • Because of the ACA, more people with disabilities receive supports and live in the community, not institutions.

There are countless other provisions in the ACA that are important to people with mental illnesses. The ACA has unquestionably improved access to care for people with mental illnesses and chronic conditions to help them live healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives. Learn more here .

TAKE ACTION
Call the US Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office.  Tell your Senator:
  • Vote NO on the Budget package that leads to eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
  • People with mental illnesses need access to comprehensive and affordable health care.

We need the Medicaid expansion and mental health parity.

The Mental Health Reform legislation we have all worked hard on has been added to a bill-the 21st Century Cures Act-that Congress will vote on as early as this week.
Adding to our excitement, language supporting CIT, mental health courts and other provisions to reduce the involvement of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system have also been added.

2 ways you can bring Mental Health Reform home this #GivingTuesday are by:

 

Thank you for all you do to help build better lives for all affected by mental illness.

Mental illness is still being denied by insurers at more than 2 times the rate of physical illness.
People aren’t getting the mental health care they need when they need it.
Mental Health Reform, S. 2680, will help. But, time is running out.
Take 2 minutes today, Tuesday, November 15th.

Call your Senators.
Tell them to demand a vote on S. 2680 now.

Call (202) 224-3121

Press #1
Enter your zip code
Here’s our suggested message: “As a constituent, I would like the Senator to demand a vote on S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act. Mental health parity laws are being broken every day. This bill will help.”

Join the March for Dignity and Change for Mental Health on October 10, 2016

The moment has come to reframe mental health as a basic right that must be realized in the context of human dignity. The Destination Dignity March, a collective effort of thousands affected by mental health conditions, is a crucial step in this direction for a healthier America.
Members of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, through its ICAN program, will be taking part in the Destination Dignity: March for Dignity and Change in Mental Health in Washington D.C. on October 10, 2016. Advocates from around the country will be traveling to rally and march to the Capitol to express their support for Recovery values and principles.
You can still take part, even if you’re unable to attend in person. Destination Dignity is hosting a digital rally to coincide with the March. Go on Twitter, and Facebook, and the Internet to express your support for the estimated 1 in 4 Americans living with mental health conditions.

We need our policymakers in Washington to understand that their decisions have a real impact on the lives of people with mental health conditions, their family members and friends, and those that work side-by-side with people in recovery.

Make sure that you’re registered to vote in the 2016 election.
There are approximately 4 Weeks until Election Day, and the last day to register to vote is October 11, 2016.
You can register to vote online and change your existing registration in Pennsylvania here .
Not sure if you’re registered to vote (or where?) You can check that here.
Not sure where your polling place is?You can check that here.

Want to submit an absentee ballot? The application is here. Please note that if you are submitting an absentee ballot, it must be mailed no later than Wednesday, October 26th to insure that it gets processed in time.

People with mental health conditions, their family members, and allies: Take part in the process. 

Nothing About Us, Without Us.

EVERY VOTE COUNTS!

Time is running out. Tell the Senate to vote on
#MentalHealthReform

Mental health advocacy is not about political parties. Right or left. It’s about getting good care for the 60 million Americans who live with mental health conditions.

Mental Health Reform, S. 2680, will help. But, time is running out.

Take 2 minutes on Friday, September 2nd.

Call your Senators.

Tell them to demand a vote on S. 2680 now.

Call 202-224-3121
Press #1
Enter your zip code

Here’s our suggested message: “As a constituent of the Senator’s, I would like him/her to demand a vote on S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act. The House passed Mental Health Reform 422-2. The Senate should act. There is a mental health crisis in this country. This bill will help. Thank you.”

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