Category Archives: Legislature

How Will Economic Recovery Legislation Affect People with AD/HD?

The following was posted January 26, 2009 on the CHADD Public Policy section of the CHADD Web site

The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations (  released the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 on January 15. According to the press release from the committee chairman, Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI), the bill contains numerous tax cuts and investments to “create and save three to four million jobs, jumpstart our economy, and begin the process of transforming it for the twenty-first century.”

Key provisions will impact the lives of individuals with AD/HD and related disorders if this bill becomes law, including:

* IDEA Special Education: Allocates $13 billion for formula grants to increase the federal share of special education costs and prevent these mandatory costs from forcing states to cut other areas of education.

School Construction: Allocates $20 billion, including $14 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education, for renovation and modernization, including technology upgrades.

Health Information Technology: Allocates $20 billion to jumpstart efforts to computerize health records to cut costs and reduce medical errors.

Healthcare Effectiveness Research: Allocates $1.1 billion for Healthcare Research and Quality programs to compare the effectiveness of different medical treatments funded by Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP (State’s Children Health Insurance Program).

Training Primary Care Providers: Allocates $600 million to address shortages and prepare for universal healthcare by training primary healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, and nurses) as well as to help pay medical school expenses for students who agree to practice in underserved communities through the National Health Service Corps.

Employment Services Grants: Allocates $500 million to match unemployed individuals to job openings through state employment service agencies and allow states to provide customized services.

Prevention and Wellness Fund: Allocates $3 billion to fight preventable chronic diseases, the leading cause of deaths in the United States, and infectious diseases. Preventing disease rather than treating illnesses is the most effective way to reduce healthcare costs. This includes hospital infection prevention, Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grants for state and local public health departments, immunization programs, and evidence-based disease prevention.

Medicare and Medicaid Regulations: Extends the moratorium on Medicaid and Medicare regulations through October 1, 2009.

CHADD is working to have the word “disability” included anywhere in the bill that mentions additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some members of Congress are proposing initiatives to assist “chronic illness” initiatives at CDC. CHADD and its many sister national organizations desire that any CDC initiative recognize the CDC NCBDDD (National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities), ( the agency that funds CHADD’s National Resource Center on AD/HD.

The entire press release can be read here.( The Senate has not yet released its economic recovery plan.  It is expected that they will release their version of the bill on January 27. The House of Representatives is expected to finalize the bill, which will be followed by Senate action. Leaders in both chambers have indicated that their goal is to hold a vote prior to the Presidents Day recess.

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Mental Health Parity Signed in to Law

October 3, 2008

President Bush Signs Mental Health Parity into Law!

President Bush signed into law today the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, after the House of Representatives passed the act by a vote of 263-171. Congress joined the parity bill with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the legislation created to address the economic situation.

This is a huge victory for people affected by AD/HD and related disorders. CHADD thanks all of our members who reached out to their elected officials to let Congress know the importance of ending insurance discrimination against people affected by mental illnesses. This is a monumental day for CHADD members and affiliates.

The mental health parity legislation signed into law provides equitable coverage of medical-surgical and mental health and addiction benefits in healthcare plans that offer mental health coverage. The bill prohibits health insurance plans sponsored by businesses with 50 or more employees from imposing day and visit limits or applying different deductibles, copayments, out-of-network charges and other financial requirements for mental health treatment. The act builds on the 1996 Parity Act, which provided limited parity for lifetime and annual dollar limits.

The text of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act can be viewed here. The section on mental health parity is located on pages 310-344 of the displayed law.

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Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act

September 11, 2008
Contact: Maggie Kao (LCCR)

Civil Rights, Disability, and Business Communities Applaud Senate Passage
of the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Senate expressed overwhelming bipartisan support for the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act by unanimously passing the bill by voice vote. The bill included over 77 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The bill went to the Senate floor today after it was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in late June, and has enjoyed wide support on both sides of the aisle, as well as among employers, civil rights and disability advocates, who have formed an uncommon alliance around the legislation.

The ADA Amendments Act will correct narrow court interpretations that have restricted ADA coverage in the workplace, and taken away coverage for individuals with diabetes, epilepsy, serious heart conditions, mental disabilities, and cancer. The act will also clarify responsibilities for employers.

Leaders from the groups issued the following statements on today’s expected passage of the ADA Amendments Act:

“This is the most important piece of disability legislation since the enactment of the ADA in 1990, and we are close enough to the finish line that we can see over. Today’s Senate vote is another historic step on the road toward fair treatment of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions in the U.S. workplace. This vote demonstrates the broad-based bipartisan support for the need to restore protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to people with epilepsy, depression, diabetes, cancer and host of other conditions who have been interpreted out of the ADA by a callous majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.” – American Association of People with Disabilities President and CEO Andrew Imparato [Press contact: Rebecca Panoff (407) 617-9891]

“We applaud the Senate for their commitment to protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities and for acting today to pass this landmark civil rights legislation. The strong bipartisan support that we have seen for this bill tells us that the U.S. Senate values the integrity of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are pleased that the Americans with Disabilities Act has been strengthened to once again protect people with diabetes from employment discrimination.” – American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner [Press contact: Shana Starkand (703) 549-1500 ext. 2622]

“The Senate has joined the House today and unequivocally recognized the necessity of protecting the rights of all Americans, including those who live with disability. The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act will lead to a diversified workforce, stronger communities, and people with disabilities and their families living with independence and dignity alongside their neighbors. In particular, individuals with intellectual disabilities who have been previously disenfranchised by court misinterpretation will regain protection from discrimination. There’s not a single family in American who won’t be touched by this bill.” – The Arc of the United States Executive Director Peter Berns

“This is a huge step forward for adults with AD/HD and those with related disorders. Dealing with workplace issues and obtaining services can be daunting for the millions of people living with this disorder. If the president signs this into law, people with AD/HD will face fewer obstacles.” – Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) CEO E. Clarke Ross [Press contact: Cindy Smith (301) 306-7070, ext. 138]

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Mental Health Parity Law

July 28, 2008

Action Alert: Call Congress to Urge Passage of Mental Health Parity Law Before August Recess

Over the weekend, Senate leaders included the mental health parity legislation in the Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3335) with the hope of attracting enough support to overcome procedural objections in regards to the projected offset costs of mental health parity. It appears a vote on the Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3335) will take place later this week in the Senate. When calling your Senators to ask for support for mental health parity legislation, please reference bill number S. 3335.

The Mental Health Liaison Group, of which CHADD is a member, issued the following Action Alert on Friday July 25, 2008:

Action: Constituents should call their U.S. Representative and Senators by using the toll-free Parity Hotline: 1-866-parity4 (1-866-727-4894). (The Parity Hotline reaches the U.S. Capitol switchboard, which can connect callers to the offices of their members.)

Targets: All members of the Senate and House.

Message: “I’m calling to ask that the Senator/Representative urge the congressional leadership to move swiftly to agree on pay-fors for the historic mental health and addiction parity legislation. This needed bill should be passed before the August recess.”

Background: The negotiators for the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction reached an agreement on the language of a good parity bill that will be brought to the floor of the House and Senate. (H.R. 1424 and S. 558). First, however, they must agree on the source of $3.8 billion in offsets (“pay-fors” over 10 years) required under the Budget Act. Constituent pressure may help reduce the chances of this issue being delayed until September. Congress had been scheduled to recess for one month beginning on August 8, but may leave town on August 1 instead.

Enactment of Medicare coinsurance parity last week (Sec. 102 of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, H.R. 6331), is a welcomed accomplishment in addressing discrimination in the design of health coverage. Congress must now complete its work on the private sector parity legislation that we have all worked on for so many years.

Children’s Mental Health Coalition Introduces Bill of Rights for Families Living With Mental Illnesses

April 15, 2008

A coalition for children’s mental health facilitated by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and including CHADD, has created a Bill of Rights for Children with Mental Health Disorders and their Families. The coalition also includes the Autism Society of America (ASA), the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH), Mental Health America (MHA), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“The rights that are enumerated in this document will serve as an important guidepost for millions of doctors, families, and hopefully even health plans and insurance companies,” said E. Clarke Ross. “As CHADD’s CEO and the father of a 17 year old with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, I want every parent to know about the need for good mental health services and interventions. It’s knowledge that will help us all navigate the sometimes rough terrain of raising a child who lives with a disorder.”

“This Bill of Rights represents the standard of what families living with mental illnesses should expect from treatment,” said AACAP President Robert Hendren, D.O. “Children do better when they receive consistent, tailored treatment. Few children receive any treatment and fewer still receive the sustained, quality care that they require.”

The Bill of Rights was created because of the inconsistency of accessible mental healthcare services throughout the country.

The Bill of Rights:

Treatment must be family-driven and child-focused. Families and youth, (when appropriate), must have a primary decision-making role in their treatment.

Children should receive care in home and community-based settings as close to home as possible.

Mental health services are an integral part of a child’s overall healthcare. Insurance companies must not discriminate against children with mental illnesses by imposing financial burdens and barriers to treatment, such as differential deductibles, co-pays, annual or lifetime caps, or arbitrary limits on access to medically necessary inpatient and/or outpatient services.

Children should receive care from highly-qualified professionals who are acting in the best interest of the child and family, with appropriate informed consent.

Parents and children are entitled to as much information as possible about the risks and benefits of all treatment options, including anticipated outcomes.

Children receiving medications for mental disorders should be monitored appropriately to optimize the benefit and reduce any risks or potential side effects which may be associated with such treatments.

Children and their families should have access to a comprehensive continuum of care, based on their needs, including a full range of psychosocial, behavioral, pharmacological, and educational services, regardless of the cost.

Children should receive treatment within a coordinated system of care where all agencies (e.g., health, mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice, and schools, etc.) delivering services work together to support recovery and optimize treatment outcome.

Children and families are entitled to an increased investment in high-quality research on the origin, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood disorders.

Children and families need and deserve access to mental health professionals with appropriate training and experience. Primary care professionals providing mental health services must have access to consultation and referral resources from qualified mental health professionals.

For more information on this proposed Bill of Rights for Children with Mental Health Disorders and their Families, call CHADD’s National Resource Center on AD/HD at 1-800-233-4050 or go to and click “Especially for Parents.”