Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wolf Votes Against Mental Health Equity

Yesterday, Frank Wolf cast yet another terrible vote, this time against the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act. The bill, which passed the House by an overwhelming 268-148 margin, would "require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans." Why Frank Wolf opposed this, it's hard to say, but 47 of his fellow Republicans (including Tom Davis) voted for it. Wolf joined hard-right hardliners like Virgil Goode and Eric Cantor in voting "nay." For more background on what has been called a "historic moment for [former Sen. Paul] Wellstone's addiction and treatment crusade," click here.
Advocates of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act say it would end the stigma of mental illness by treating it on a par with physical maladies. "We're no longer going to allow people to languish in the shadows," said Kennedy, who has had his own bout with an addiction to painkillers.

While the congressional debate is far from over, champions of the Wellstone bill celebrated the House vote as the culmination of 12 years of activism on the issue.

Said Ramstad: "We know that Paul Wellstone is smiling down on us today."

Paul Wellstone may be smiling, but Frank Wolf is frowning. Apparently, he doesn't believe that people with mental illness should be treated the same as those with physical illness. Why not? Can anyone ever get an explanation out of this guy? Suggestion to media: ask him about it and don't keep hiding behind the "he's a moderate" malarkey.

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