National Alliance on Mental Illness
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(800) 950-NAMI;

U.S. House of Representatives
Ways and Means Committee Roster 2002

William Thomas (Bakersfield, CA)
Phillip Crane (Lake Villa & Palatine, IL)
E. Clay Shaw, Jr (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Nancy Johnson (New Britain, CT)
Amo Houghton (Corning, NY)
Wally Herger (Chico, CA)
Jim McCrery (Shreveport, LA)
Dave Camp (Midland, MI)
Jim Ramstad (Minnetonka, MN)
Jim Nussle (Manchester, IA)
Jennifer Dunn (Mercer Island, WA)
Mac Collins (Jonesboro, GA)
Rob Portman (Batavia, OH)
Phil English (Erie, PA)
Wes Watkins (McAlester, OK)
J.D. Hayworth (Mesa, AZ)
Jerry Weller (Joliet, IL)
Kenny Hulshof (Hannibal, MO)
Scott McInnis (Pueblo, CO)
Ron Lewis (Bowling Green, KY)
Mark Foley (Port Saint Lucie, FL)
Kevin Brady (Coneroe & College Station, TX)
Paul Ryan (Kenosha & Racine, WI)
Charles Rangel (Bronx, NY)
Pete Stark (Fremont, CA)
Robert Matsui (Sacramento, CA)
William Coyne (Pittsburgh, PA)
Sander Levin (Sterling Heights, MI)
Benjamin Cardin (Baltmore, MD)
Jim McDermott (Seattle, WA)
Jerry Kleczka (Milwaukie, WI)
John Lewis (Atlanta, GA)
Richard Neal (Springfield, MA)
Michael McNulty (Albany, NY)
William Jefferson (New Orleans, LA)
John Tanner (Jackson, TN)
Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles, CA)
Karen Thurman (Gainesville, FL)
Lloyd Doggett (Austin, TX)
Earl Pomeroy (At Large, ND)


January 24, 2002

The Honorable ______________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative ________________:

On behalf of the xxxx members of NAMI ____________, I am writing to urge your support for House Ways and Means Committee hearings on mental illness insurance parity legislation early in 2002. I urge you to contact Chairman Thomas to strongly encourage him to convene hearings as soon as possible to ensure expedited House action on legislation to end insurance discrimination against individuals with severe mental illnesses and their families.

As you may know, the Senate passed full mental illness insurance parity legislation (S 543) last year as part of the FY 2002 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (HR 3061). Unfortunately, the Senate amendment did not end up in the final version of HR 3061. However, in rejecting the mental illness insurance parity legislation, the House-Senate Conference Report on HR 3061 included the following language:

The conferees recognize the devastating impact of mental illnesses on Americans from every walk of life and the widespread bipartisan support of mental health parity legislation in both houses of Congress. The conferees strongly urge the committees of jurisdiction in the House and the Senate to convene early hearings and undertake swift consideration of legislation to extend and improve mental health parity protections during the second session of the 107th Congress. H.Rpt. 107-342

NAMI ___________ strongly urges you and your colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to move forward on this directive to hold hearings on mental illness insurance parity legislation and bring forward a bill to the full House as soon as possible. Americans living with mental illness have waited too long for federal legislation to end insurance discrimination.

As the House Ways and Means Committee moves forward on hearings and legislative action on mental illness parity, NAMI ____________ would like to remind you that:

  • mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety disorders are real illnesses,
  • treatment for mental illness works, if you can get it - treatment efficacy rates for most severe mental illnesses exceed those for heart disease and diabetes,
  • there is simply no scientific or medical justification for insurance coverage of mental illness treatment to be on different terms and conditions than other diseases,
  • discriminatory insurance coverage of mental illness bankrupts families and places a tremendous burden on taxpayers through suicide, homelessness and inappropriate "criminalization" of mental illness,
  • parity is affordable - the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that S 543 would increase insurance premiums only .9% (a finding that is consistent with numerous previous studies that demonstrate how non-discriminatory coverage is economical and results in better treatment outcomes),
  • 34 states have enacted parity laws similar to S 543, but even these laws offer no protection for workers and their families that receive coverage through self-insured ERISA plans.
Thank you for your attention on this important matter for the consumer and family members of NAMI __________. We look forward to working with you to ensure quick House passage of mental illness insurance parity legislation in 2002 and would look forward to meeting with you in your district office to discuss this issue further.