Representative Murphy did you know Congress has an 8% approval rating

Congressman Murphy I heard last night that Congress had an 8% approval rating and I thought of you.   I remember a long time ago you used a word describing PAIMI that you don’t hear much anymore – reprehensible.   And it hit me last night that is the word that most people apply to Congress.   They lament that Congress is so dysfunctional it can’t pass needed legislation but perhaps we need to be grateful it is so dysfunctional it can’t pass bad legislation either.

Some things stand out about the new bill….

I have been told by lots of people in a position to know that you were told that as long as your bill was so partisan it would never see the outside of the committee room. I wonder if that is why Dr.  Torrey and Mr. Jaffe no longer seem to be on the front line of this bill with you.  They are the essence of partisanship and a scorched earth advocacy approach.  It seems Patrick Kennedy is your new poster child and the combination of him and Dr.  Lieberman and the new head of MHA is much more of a formidable  crew.   Dr.  Torrey I  think is a little like the Donald Trump of psychiatry: always good for a sound bite,  beloved by many and despised by many more.   I think the combination of AOT as your flagship and Torrey as the pilot of the boat was too much for anyone to overcome.

A primarily AOT bill is not going to pass.   Dr Torrey never had the influence or audience he thought he had.  You seem to finally realize that and I suppose the AOT incentive is your compromise.   You probably know more than me but I have been told that an AOT incentive is not making it through the Senate.

I  simply do not understand how, even if they have made mistakes,  you can be against the unfettered operation of an organization that protects the rights of those you claim to be for.  The mental health system,  and certainly the mental health system as you would like it to be,  has earned no blank check of trust and in a free society never should.

You seem to have a very personal gripe against Samhsa.   The best I can tell your solution to the bureaucracy of Samhsa is a bureaucracy not named Samhsa.   People I know tell me your personal animus towards Pamela Hyde is well known and it seems she feels the same about you.  The perception of Samhsa in Tennessee is largely positive and I know of no one who understands let alone agrees with your claim that it is a terminal virus on the mental health system.   This  battle seems highly partisan and I have a hard time believing a democratic president is going to sign something destroying it. I  also think this is going to be a hard sell in the Senate.

How are you going to get the increased federal bankrolling of psychiatric hospitals to be budget neutral?  I don’t think the Republicans will even vote for that.

I think you have a very hard road to hoe.   It is August and you are still not out of the committee and the Senate has not even started.   The presidential campaign is going to put a halt to a lot.   I  understand that some members of Congress are still hunting the speakers head. I  wonder how much could happen even if everyone wanted it to. Your organization just sounds like a chaotic mess and the clock is ticking.   And August is vacation time for you guys I think.

8% approval rating.  Unless you are a Republican candidate for president that is scary low.


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