National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Share Your Views With the Obama-Biden Transition Team

December 19, 2008

The Obama-Biden Presidential Transition is actively seeking input from Americans on health care reform through the transition website,

This website offers the opportunity for consumers and families to share their personal experiences with the health care system and offer suggestions for health care reform. 


NAMI is encouraging consumers and families to go the transition website and share their experiences of living with mental illness and accessing effective recovery-oriented treatment and supports. Click here to submit comments to the tranistion.

NAMI affiliates should also consider signing up to lead, host or participate in a health care community discussion in their community.  This can be done by clicking here.

A You Tube video featuring HHS Secretary Designate Tom Daschle provides more details on these health care events and how they will be coordinated with the Obama-Biden Transition.

Talking Points

Click here to submit comments to the transition. NAMI has developed the following draft talking points that consumers and families may wish to use:

  • Health care reform should ensure that mental illness and substance abuse services are covered in the same way as services for all other health conditions in all public and private health plans – consistent with the recently enacted Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
  • The current recession poses an enormous threat to funding for community-based mental health services.  Any economic stimulus and recovery package must include increased federal investment in safety net programs such as Medicaid with a requirement that states NOT by allowed to cut mental health services.
  • People with serious mental illnesses require a range of services to achieve recovery, not just doctors’ visits or individual counseling.   Health care reform should ensure access to effective, recovery-oriented and evidence based services for Americans living with mental illnesses such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), integrated dual-diagnosis treatment for people with co-occurring mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders, multi-systemic therapy (MST) for youth with mental illnesses, and peer support services.
  • Health care reform should support policies that promote full access to mental health medications.
  • Health care reform should permit reimbursement for inpatient treatment in facilities that primarily serve individuals with mental illnesses.  Current Medicaid law does not allow reimbursement of needed care in many such facilities.
  • People with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses currently die on average 25 years younger than the rest of the population.  Health care reform should promote integrated mental health and physical healthcare and should make sure that people with serious mental illnesses have access to a wide range of healthcare services to enhance wellness and reduce premature deaths.
  • Across the nation, there are severe shortages of qualified psychiatrists, psychologists and other vital mental health professionals.  Healthcare reform should include mechanisms for expanding the supply and availability of qualified mental health and healthcare professionals.

Additional facts and figures on mental illness are available on the NAMI website.