CCHR Update on Senate Health Care Reform Bill

Click here to read the House Health Care Bill

There are dozens of organizations that are objecting to provisions in the health care reform bills.  As the primary mental health watchdog organization, CCHR has been hard at work identifying the specific mental health provisions in these bills so we can inform the public of the very real risks of various aspects of these bills that clearly are designed to benefit the psycho/pharmaceutical industry, but not the general public.

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a thin margin (220-215) H.R. 3962, a bill laden with language and funding for the psycho/pharmaceutical industry, which has a vested interest in seeing every man, woman and child in America labeled with some mental disorder and prescribed psychiatric drugs.  The provisions listed in that bill (posted here) run roughshod over American’s personal privacy and liberty.  For example, the bill allocates up to $5 billion/year to fund School Based Health Clinics for children, which will include mental health assessments (screening), crisis intervention, treatment, counseling and referral to emergency psychiatric care.  This is simply a feeder line for psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry directly into our schools.

Just as with the House Bill, two Senate health care bills have now been merged into one enormous bill, H.R. 3590 – the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” ( 2074 pages). The reason for calling it H.R. 3590 (even though it is a Senate Bill) is to avoid conference committee once passed by the Senate, where it could take a long time to work out the differences in the Senate and House passed bills. In other words — naming the Senate bill the same as the House bill puts it on a fast track to pass with as little resistance as possible once through the Senate.


The Senate “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” has the following provisions in it:


The bill includes the language of the MOTHERS Act, to “expand treatment for postpartum conditions” and calls for the development of “improved screening and diagnostic techniques,” but makes no provisions to ensure any entities doing such research are free from conflicts of interest or pharmaceutical funding.  For example, Screening for Mental Health, Inc., and its sub-organization Signs of Suicide, who heavily promote and conduct mental health screening, received $4,985,925 from pharmaceutical companies prior to 2008, and ten leading psychiatric researchers have been exposed in the last year for failing to disclose millions of dollars in pharmaceutical company payments.  Despite their conflicts of interest and biased research, many pharma funded psychiatrists and researchers have been used by so-called advocacy groups (Screening for Mental Health, NAMI, etc. which are also heavily funded by Pharma) to promote the need for federal laws that will only increase the number of Americans being needlessly targeted for psychiatric treatment and drugged. Yet this bill contains no provisions for full disclosure of conflicts of interest for any “entity” that could receive federal taxpayer funded grants, do research or promotional campaigns̶—such as the provision in the bill calling for a national PR campaign using TV, radio and other public service announcements to urge women be screened and seek treatment for postpartum depression.  The bill also calls for “clinical research” for the development of new treatments (drugs), but again, no guidelines for ensuring that any researchers/research entities are free from pharmaceutical funding or conflicts of interest. (Section 2952, Page 595)

Mental Health Parity

This bill expands the laws already on the books with regard to insurance coverage for mental disorders, stating that any new benefit plans shall include mental health parity, or equal (to physical disease) insurance coverage for mental disorders.  Psychiatric patients are typically “cured” when their insurance benefits run out.  In this bill, any new benefit plans would ensure those benefits never run out.  Considering there are no medical tests to verify the existence of any psychiatric disorder, and without anything other than a psychiatrist’s opinion about whether or not the person’s “illness” is “cured,” this legislation becomes nothing more than taxpayer funded billions to the psycho/pharmaceutical industry who will continue their mass diagnosing and drugging of Americans.  This provision could easily encompass all 374 diagnoses in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, covering everything from Phase of Life Problem to Arithmetic Disorder. (Section 1311, Page 152)

School Based Health Centers

The bill allocates of up to $5 billion every year for School Based Health Clinics to provide such services as: mental health assessments (screening), crisis intervention, treatment, counseling and referral to emergency psychiatric care.  This is simply a feeder line for psychiatry into our public schools.  (Section 399Z-1, Page 1158)

Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children or Families Expecting Children

The bill creates a home visitation program which allows (among others)  social workers, nurses and child development specialists to conduct home visits of families with young children, or who are expecting children or who have certain “risk factors.”  The program includes providing “assessments”  regarding matters of  cognitive,  social and emotional development  for children and “referral” to outside services.  – (Section 511, Page 571)

Your voice needs to be heard in Washington NOW on these outrageous provisions in this bill.  Call and fax your Senators and tell them that you are opposed to the above points in any of the health care reform bills.  Pick at least three points from above that you feel the most passionate about and call your two Senators’ offices and let them know why you are opposed to these bills. Then fax them also.

To find your Senators and get their contact information, go to to look them up (you need to enter your zip code). You can also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.