phone-zap for work-incentives act needed

rosaphil (rugosa@interport.net)
Sat, 20 Mar 1999 17:24:54 -0500 (EST)


very important.

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*Better Living Thru Better Living!* http://www.interport.net/~rugosa *

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:50:47 -0500
From: chris@nami.org
Subject: NAMI E-News    House Work Incentives Action Alert=20

=20
____________________________________________________________________
NAMI E-News            March 19, 1999         Vol. 99-99
____________________________________________________________________


WORK INCENTIVES IMPROVEMENT ACT INTRODUCED IN HOUSE,=20
NAMI TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE

On March 18, a bipartisan group of nearly 50 members introduced a House=20
companion bill to the Jeffords-Kennedy-Roth-Moynihan Work Incentives Impr=
ovement=20
Act (S 331).  The new House bill (HR 1180) is identical to the bill that =
was=20
reported out by the Senate Finance Committee on March 4.  This legislatio=
n would=20
provide extended health coverage (including outpatient prescription drugs=
) to=20
SSI and SSDI beneficiaries who want to enter the workforce.  As many NAMI=
=20
members know first-hand, the current system creates numerous disincentive=
s to=20
work including the threat of losing health coverage through Medicare and=20
Medicaid if someone takes a job.  HR 1180 also contains the "ticket to=20
independence" proposal that would provide a voucher to consumers on SSI a=
nd SSDI=20
to allow them to select their own employment or rehabilitation provider.

Among the key House leaders sponsoring HR 1180 are Representatives Rick L=
azio=20
(R-NY), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Tom Bliley (R-VA), John Dingell (D-MI), Nanc=
y=20
Johnson (R-CT), Bob Matsui (D-CA), Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (=
D-OH),=20
Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jim Greenwood (R-PA), Tammy Baldwi=
n=20
(D-WI), Dave Camp (R-MI), Pete Stark (D-CA), Chip Pickering (R-MS), Frank=
=20
Pallone (D-NY), Mark Foley (R-FL), Sander Levin (D-MI), John Tanner (D-TN=
),=20
Brain Bilbray (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), John Murtha (D-PA) and others=
.  Each=20
are members of key House committees that have jurisdiction over SSI, SSDI=
,=20
Medicare and Medicaid.

ACTION NEEDED

NAMI members and advocates are urged to contact their Representative and=20
encourage them to cosponsor HR 1180 and remove the barriers to work for p=
eople=20
with disabilities, including people with severe mental illnesses.  If you=
r=20
Representative is already a cosponsor, please thank them for their suppor=
t and=20
encourage them to ask their colleagues to sign on.  All members of Congre=
ss can=20
be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.  Email addres=
ses can=20
be obtained by going to the policy page of the NAMI website at www.nami.o=
rg and=20
click on "Write to Congress."

ADDITIONAL HOUSE PROPOSAL

A separate House bill (HR 1091) has also been introduced in the past week=
 by=20
Representative Kenny Hulshof (R-MO).  HR 1091 differs in that it excludes=
 the 10=20
year demonstration for extended Medicare for SSDI beneficiaries who go to=
 work=20
that is contained in HR 1180/S 331.  In addition, HR 1091 does not includ=
e=20
several beneficiary protections that are in "ticket" provisions in HR 118=
0/S=20
331:  a bar on Social Security performing medical continuing disability r=
eviews=20
(CDRs) on beneficiaries who go to work and a new expedited process for ge=
tting=20
back on cash benefits in cases of an acute episode of a disabling illness=
.  NAMI=20
is urging support for HR 1180/S 331 because of its more comprehensive app=
roach=20
to extended health coverage and its more extensive beneficiary protection=
s. =20

SENATE UPDATE

As was noted above, S 331 was reported out of the Finance Committee on Ma=
rch 4.=20
NAMI and our allies in the disability community are currently urging Sena=
te=20
leaders (including Senators Lott and Nickles) to bring the bill to the fl=
oor for=20
a vote.  S 331 now has 69 cosponsors =96 more than enough to overcome a p=
ossible=20
filibuster or budget "point of order."  Updated lists of cosponsors for a=
ll=20
three of these bills are available through the Thomas website at=20
http://thomas.loc.gov. by locating the individual bills.  NAMI urges advo=
cates=20
to thank members of their state=92s congressional delegation who are alre=
ady=20
cosponsoring the Work Incentives Improvement Act and push members who are=
 not to=20
sign on to this important bill.

NAMI TESTIMONY

On March 11, NAMI board member Jim McNulty testified before the House Way=
s and=20
Means Committee in support of reforming the SSI, SSDI, Medicare and Medic=
aid=20
programs to stop penalizing adults with severe mental illnesses who take =
the=20
risk of entering the workforce.  A copy of his statement is included in a=
=20
subsequent E-News due to size, immediately following this E-News.




=20

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