Monday, March 03, 2008

Mental Health Legislation

On March 9, 2007, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007. This bill would incorporate into federal law the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) classification definitions as parameters of mental health treatment for health plans. Further, this legislation mandates that employers offering mental health benefits cover all diagnoses under the DSM-IV. Under the current language of the bill, there is no exemption for groups to exclude coverage of mental disorders, particularly psycho-sexual disorders, for which they have religious or moral objections.

The DSM-IV is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all mental health disorders for both children and adults. Examples of such disorders include, gender identity disorder, pedophilia, and transvestic fetishism. A complete list of mental disorders can be found online at

Currently, this bill has 273 co-sponsors and is scheduled to be on the House floor either Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Of these 273 co-sponsors, 29 members voted against hate crimes legislation on May 3, 2007, yet they are supporting this bill. H.R. 1424 could easily be used as a stepping stone in order to pass hate crimes legislation. These members must be held accountable for their decision to co-sponsor this dangerous bill. Please contact the following 29 members of the House of Representatives and ask them not to support H.R. 1424:

Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Marion Berry (D-AR)
Jo Bonner (R-AL)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Christopher Carney (D-PA)
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
Paul Gillmor (R-OH)
Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Ric Keller (R-FL)
Steven LaTourette (R-OH)
John McHugh (R-NY)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Charlie Melancon (D-La)
John Mica (R-FL)
Patrick Murphy (R-PA)
Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Charles Pickering (R-MS)
Jim Ramstad (R-MN)
Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
John Sullivan (R-OK)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Zach Wamp (R-TN)
Frank Wolf (R-VA)
Don Young (R-AK)