Received this NAMI Advocacy Update email on November 25, 2014:
|Congress Begins Post-Election “Lame Duck” Session Congress has returned for a post-election “lame duck” session. Their main task is to complete work on 2015 spending bills before the Dec. 11th expiration of the current continuing resolution (a temporary funding measure that is keeping the government open until a full-year “omnibus appropriations” can be enacted).Another major issue is whether or not Congress will enact that omnibus appropriations bill authorizing funding for the remaining months of FY 2015 (which actually began back onOct. 1) or whether Congress will instead pass a continuing resolution or CR that would keep current FY 2014 funding levels in place through Sep. 30, 2015.This decision willhave a significant impact for a number of importantNAMI priorities. For example, a CR wouldpreserve the current FY 2014 budget at $1.41 billion for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and would stop Congress from enacting the $23 million increase requested by the President. In addition, the President’s BRAIN Initiative (unveiled in April 2013) would NOT receive a proposed $40 million boost, up to $100 million.Action Needed on Funding for Supportive Housing
During this lame duck session, Congress has one last opportunity to include increases for permanent supportive housing programs targeted to people living with serious mental illness that experience chronic homelessness or are living in restrictive settings. NAMI is urging Congress to support specific increases proposed by President Obama for FY 2015 including:
Write your member of Congress to support these important programs today!
The Health Insurance Marketplace is Open
If you don’t have health insurance or are looking for more affordable health insurance and haven’t looked at the Health Insurance Marketplace―open enrollment is the time to look. Health insurance can be complicated. If you or your family member needs help understanding your options, Healthcare.gov can help.
The Kaiser Family Foundation also put together some great resources including a videoexplaining health insurance and a calculator you can use to figure out about how much health insurance will cost for you if you buy it through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
It is important that people living with mental illness enroll in the right level of coverage. Enrollment assisters need information to help people identify health plans that cover the person’s providers and therapies. The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative has developed a guide, fact sheets and state specific information to help individuals with disabilities-including mental illness- get a health plan that covers their needs.
Bright Spot: NAMI California
NAMI California has built a network of people living near the state capitol―the Capitol Coalition― to advocate on mental health issues by giving testimony before the legislature, attending policy meetings, and following regulatory agencies. This network uses the NAMI Smarts for Advocacy training to shape their personal narrative so their stories are articulate, brief and compelling. In response to this highly successful network, legislative staff said that NAMI California’s footprint grows with each passing opportunity, and that the Capitol Coalition are relied upon for their clear and certain perspective.
Cheers to these wonderful California mental health advocates!
Read NAMI California’s Briefing Book that helps inform the Capitol Coalition.