For Immediate Release, December 6, 2000
Contact: Chris Marshall
Family Opportunity Act Still Alive
Contact The Senate Majority Leader Today
In the final days of the 106th Congress, Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Kennedy (D-MA) and Representatives Sessions (R-TX) and Waxman (D-CA) are putting pressure on the House and Senate leadership, as well as the White House, to pass The Family Opportunity Act (S 2274/HR 4825) this year. Despite the time crunch, advocates for the Family Opportunity Act-including NAMI, continue to push for action before Congress adjourns, possibly by the end of this week.
It is expected that The Family Opportunity Act will be attached to Medicare "give-back" legislation, which includes payments to hospitals and providers. S 2274/HR 4825 has bipartisan Congressional and White House support, however, it is imperative that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), as well as the White House hear from you how important this legislation is to families and children with severe mental illness. This is our last chance to get this legislation passed this year.
As described in previous NAMI E-News, The Family Opportunity Act of 2000 is intended to restore hope for children with severe mental illnesses and their families. This legislation would allow states to set up Medicaid buy-in programs for children with severe disabilities so that parents would not be forced to relinquish custody of their children or declare bankruptcy in order to get coverage for the treatment their child needs. More information on S 2274 and HR 4825 can be found at: http://www2.nami.org/update/S2274.html and http://www2.nami.org/update/000713.html.
- All NAMI members and advocates are urged to call their Senators to urge for passage of the Family Opportunity Act this year. Ask them to call Senator Lott with the message that The Family Opportunity Act is a bipartisan bill to help children with severe mental illnesses and their families.
- Call or fax Senator Lott directly. Let the Senator know how this legislation will help families by offering Medicaid coverage on a sliding scale to children with severe disabilities living in middle-income families that are unable otherwise to pay for necessary healthcare. Senator Trent Lott can be reached by phone at 202-224-6253 (fax 202-224-2262).
- Also contact the White House. Let them know that The Family Opportunity Act must be signed into law this year.
All members of the Senate can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or by going to the policy page of the NAMI web site at www.nami.org/policy.htm and click on "Write to Congress." District and Washington office numbers can be found in your local phone book or through http://www.congress.org/
The White House can be reached by calling 202-456-1414 or through the White House web site at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Mail/html/Mail_President.html. Families with children with severe disabilities, including severe mental illnesses should not be forced to wait any longer for relief.