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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Urgent Action Alert: We Must Defeat the Murphy Bill!

Earlier this month, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646, also known as the Murphy Bill) passed through the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. This is a dangerous bill that has been gaining public support, and we need you to contact your Representatives now to try and stop it.

Under the guise of violence prevention, provisions in this bill strip away many of the civil and human rights of people with psychiatric disabilities; rights for which we have been fighting for decades. This bill is based on inherently false assumptions about people labeled with psychiatric disabilities, and it perpetuates dangerous stereotypes and misinformation. We in the disability community know that people with psychiatric diagnoses are no more likely to commit violence, and in fact are much more likely to be victims of violence, than those without a diagnosis. It is urgent for our community to come together to take action.

Here are some of the ways the bill would be harmful to people with disabilities. H.R. 2646 would:

  • Significantly change the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), thereby threatening existing, effective programs such as peer support.
  • Promote involuntary treatment (euphemistically called “Assisted Outpatient Treatment”), limiting federal aid for community mental health services to states that fail to have laws conforming to the new standards.
  • Increase institutionalization by modifying the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion, which would allow Medicaid payment for nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Limit the work in which Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) is permitted to engage.
  • Create lower standards of privacy for people with psychiatric diagnoses due to changes to HIPAA regulations.

Please reach out to your Representatives right away and tell them NOT to support this bill in its current form! The bill will likely have a markup in the full House Energy and Commerce Committee in the coming weeks, so this is even more crucial if one of your Representatives serves on the committee (list below)!

A sample letter is available at our Action Portal for you to use or modify as you see fit.

You may also contact them via phone, Twitter, and Facebook, and tell them not to support this discriminatory bill!

House Energy & Commerce Committee Members

Republicans:

  • Fred Upton (MI) – Chairman
  • Joe Barton (TX) – Chairman Emeritus
  • Ed Whitfield (KY)
  • John Shimkus (IL)
  • Joseph R. Pitts (PA)
  • Greg Walden (OR)
  • Tim Murphy (PA) – Legislation Sponsor
  • Michael C. Burgess (TX)
  • Marsha Blackburn (TN) – Vice Chairman
  • Steve Scalise (LA)
  • Bob Latta (OH)
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA)
  • Gregg Harper (MS)
  • Leonard Lance (NJ)
  • Brett Guthrie (KY)
  • Pete Olson (TX)
  • David McKinley (WV)
  • Mike Pompeo (KS)
  • Adam Kinzinger (IL)
  • Morgan Griffith (VA)
  • Gus Bilirakis (FL)
  • Bill Johnson (OH)
  • Billy Long (MO)
  • Renee Ellmers (NC)
  • Larry Bucshon (IN)
  • Bill Flores (TX)
  • Susan Brooks (IN)
  • Markwayne Mullin (OK)
  • Richard Hudson (NC)
  • Chris Collins (NY)
  • Kevin Cramer (ND)

Democrats:

  • Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ)
  • Bobby L. Rush (IL)
  • Anna G. Eshoo (CA)
  • Eliot L. Engel (NY)
  • Gene Green (TX)
  • Diana DeGette (CO)
  • Lois Capps (CA)
  • Michael F. Doyle (PA)
  • Jan Schakowsky (IL)
  • G. K. Butterfield (NC)
  • Doris O. Matsui (CA)
  • Kathy Castor (FL)
  • John Sarbanes (MD)
  • Jerry McNerney (CA)
  • Peter Welch (VT)
  • Ben Ray Lujan (NM)
  • Paul Tonko (NY)
  • John Yarmuth (KY)
  • Yvette D. Clarke (NY)
  • David Loebsack (IA)
  • Kurt Schrader (OR)
  • Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA)
  • Tony Cardenas (CA)

Lastly, please consider joining NCIL’s Mental Health Subcommittee. Thank you for your commitment to Independent Living and disability rights!

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