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

Action Alert: Tell Your Members of Congress to Oppose the Mental Health Provisions in The 21st Century Cures Act!

Congress is planning to vote on H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, as early as this Wednesday, November 30. The House and Senate just released the text of the bill (PDF), which includes mental health provisions based on H.R. 2646 (also known as the Murphy Bill). NCIL strongly opposes H.R. 2646, and because of that we oppose H.R. 34.

The inclusion of language from H.R. 2646 in the 21st Century Cares Act will be incredibly dangerous for our community. While some of our concerns with H.R. 2646 were addressed prior to its June passage, the Murphy Bill is still harmful to people with disabilities. The language related to mental health that is included in H.R. 34 still promotes institutionalization, still increases funding for involuntary outpatient commitment, and influences new HIPPA rules to lessen privacy for people with psychiatric disabilities. It is important to note that the bill pays for more institutionalization of children by requiring states to use Electronic Visit Verification systems, which can make people who use personal care or supportive home care prisoners in their own home. We cannot let this dangerous language become law!

We have been asking the Senate to pass their mental health bill, S. 2680, as passed by the Senate HELP Committee, with no amendments or changes. Read more about S. 2680 in our August Action Alert. After the support for S. 2680 in the Senate and the large amount of opposition the Murphy Bill has faced, the inclusion of H.R. 2646 language in H.R. 34 is shocking and disappointing.

We must urge our members of Congress oppose the Murphy Bill language in the 21st Century Cures Act. Please contact your members of Congress TODAY and ask them to vote NO on the 21st Century Cures Act as long as it contains provisions from the Murphy Bill.

It is imperative that the mental health legislation that passes through Congress does not carve away at the rights of people with disabilities. Congress needs to hear from us before they vote. Contact your Senators and Representatives now!


  1. william welch says

    not yet