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ACT NOW to Support Children’s Mental Health

Congress Moves Forward State Children's Health Insurance Program Legislation; Senate Committee Backs Mental Illness Parity for SCHIP Plans

July 23, 2007

Committees in both the House and Senate have worked on legislation reauthorizing the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), amid threats from President Bush to veto the measure for excessive spending. It is vitally important Congress support these measures, which provide resources to enroll millions more eligible children in health insurance plans, and ensure that these plans provide parity for mental illness coverage.

NAMI wishes to thank members of the Senate Finance Committee, which voted 17-4 in favor of a bill to add $35 billion over the next five years to the SCHIP program, which is designed to finance state level programs that provide health insurance to uninsured children.  During deliberations on the SCHIP bill, the Committee unanimously accepted an amendment offered by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) to require private sector health plans offered as part of SCHIP to cover mental illness treatment at parity.  This will ensure that health plans offered as part of SCHIP do not impose discriminatory limits on inpatient days, and outpatient visits and are not allowed to have higher deductibles and cost sharing. 


Advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support a strong SCHIP reauthorization bill.  This reauthorization is vitally important to children’s mental health. Click here to contact your member of Congress!


For More Information

Click here to view NAMI’s letter in support of the Senate SCHIP bill.

Click here for NAMI's summary of the current House and Senate SCHIP bills.

Click here for a press release on the Senate SCHIP bill.

Click here for the Chairman's Markup of the Senate SCHIP bill.

Click here for modifications to the Chairman's Markup of the Senate SCHIP bill.


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