Iowa Caucus goers showed up in record numbers to stand and be counted (literally, with a show of hands) for their favorite candidates on Monday (1st), despite reports of expected inclement weather – which graciously stood by and did not rain down until after caucus goers were mostly safe at home.
After a race that was too close to call Monday night, CNN reports today that Hillary won the contest by a slim margin with a huge impact on the Clinton camp morale going into New Hampshire, where voters will hold their primary election next Tuesday (9th). Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Democratic debate Wednesday (3rd) hosted by CNN.
Democrat O’Malley conceded his presidential bid after not receiving a viable caucus portion in Monday’s contest. The remaining Democratic Candidate is Front Runner, Hillary Clinton, with Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent, running a close second.
On the Republican trail, the heavy favorite, Donald Trump, garnered a second place finish. The ROP caucus winner was Ted Cruz. In third place was Senator Marco Rubio.
Of the top 2016 Presidential Candidates still in the race, Clinton, Sanders, and Rubio have the best records on mental health care.
While the ROP candidates are still vowing to repeal Obamacare, Clinton does not want to re-invent the wheel. She plans to build on the groundbreaking legislation and expand elements that will serve Americans more productively.
Clinton has made substance abuse and mental health key issues of her campaign, while Republicans are focused on playing with women’s rights.
Clinton recognizes that the drug epidemic and the challenge of mental health “is tearing families apart, but it is below the surface. People aren’t talking about it, because it’s something that is hard to deal with.”
Clinton co-sponsored improving mental health care benefits for returning veterans. She said, “We have to do everything necessary to help returning veterans get the health care and the support that they need. This new signature wound called traumatic brain injury is something that I am really upset about, because we’ve only begun to recognize it and diagnose it. I was able to pass legislation to begin to provide the physical and mental evaluations so we could treat this. They’re now getting these exams because we’ve got to track what happens to the veterans and provide the services for them.”
She sponsored a bill for mental health service for older Americans (May 2005) and passed legislation to treat veterans’ traumatic brain injuries (Jan 2008). Following are highlights of Clinton’s career standing up for Veterans:
- She introduced the Heroes at Home Act of 2006 to help family members care for veterans that return home with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries; she also followed through to expand this legislation in later years.
- She worked to increase the survivor benefits for military families from $12,000 to $100,000.
- She successfully reached across the aisle and teamed up with Republicans to expand health care for National Guard members and reservists.
- She authored a new G.I. Bill of Rights to help veterans adjust and re-enter the workforce after deployment.She fought to expand retirement pay and disability compensation for veterans disabled during their service.
- She expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to families of wounded service
Senator Sanders is closest to Clinton with his view that America “must make sure that mental health services are available to all Americans regardless of income. Sanders also advocates for “controlling drug costs and tackling fraud.”
Sanders was instrumental in increasing Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And after passage of the ACA, Bernie continues to fight for Medicaid. For example, in a 2011 letter to President Obama he wrote:
“Medicaid is a vital lifeline for some 72 million Americans. Two-thirds of all Medicaid spending supports senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Cutting Medicaid would jeopardize the quality of healthcare, long-term services, and nursing home care for tens of millions of Americans. There are significant cost issues in America’s healthcare system that must be effectively addressed, but these challenges will not be remedied by benefit cuts to vulnerable Americans.
Medicaid is a public insurance program that is jointly administered by Federal and U.S. State governments. Medicaid covers low-income families and individuals—including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Donald Trump has stated that he cares about the autism epidemic. However, he and many others are still under the impression that vaccines cause the spectrum disorder – which has been scientifically proven not to be true.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) references the 2013 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in claiming that the number of people with employer-sponsored coverage would decline by 7 million by 2017 – a net reduction in population coverage. However, the CBO’s estimates in fact show a gain in coverage, with 2 million uninsured Americans gaining coverage that year.
He got that wrong, but he did introduce the Excellence in Mental Health Act in 2013 to strengthen our nation’s mental health services. The bill, introduced in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, put mental health centers and other health centers on more equitable grounds by improving quality standards and expanding access “to ensure more people can get the mental health care they need.”
Rubio said of the Act, “America must approach the issue of mental illness with the care, attention and compassion that it deserves. Through recent acts of violence, we have seen the tragic cost that can come from untreated mental illnesses. This bill addresses violence at its source and will ease the struggles of countless individuals and families.”
Ironically, Obamacare is one of the farthest reaching providers of mental healthcare; and Rubio stands with his ROP colleagues in wanting to “repeal every last word” (Ted Cruz) of the legislation. That’s counterproductive.