Rep. Murphy is mad. The two links above explain. The new Senate Bill does not give him credit nor diligence for being the supreme and glorious architect of mental health reform in our time. Most of the provisions that he sees as holy grail are absent and for the most part absent much support in the Senate. The process he has so tenaciously controlled is no longer in his control.
In a very real sense he is in a pickle. His bill is still in trouble in the House. The Democrats have proposed an alternate Bill. Despite what Chairman Upton has said Murphy is talking about passing a “Republican” bill. He has a faith verging on religious fervor about AOT and other features of his bill and has shown absolutely no intention or ability to listen to conflicting opinion. I don’t think anyone knows what is going to happen in the House.
I can not think of a stupider tactical move than Murphy’s attempt to label Senator Alexander’s Bill a sellout. If he is not already remarks like that will freeze him out of even the smallest influence on the Senate bill.
I have not read the bill. I have looked at a couple of summaries and read a couple of other people’s immediate reactions. My feelings may change when I read it but my initial reactions are these :
1. It does not have nearly the noxious elements of the Murphy Bill. That does not mean there are not problems. It does not mean there are not serious problems. It means this is not Murphy.
2. Most of what I have read are basically continuations of what is already being done. I don’t know that it fixes a super lot but I question rather or not it makes anything a lot worse.
3. I know that many people would like to see no mental health bill at all. What they want and what they can get are two different things and they would rather not have anything at all. I do view this as a legitimate choice and more than one person I know feels that way.
4. I think there will be a bill unless Murphy scuttles it with his egotistical grandstanding (which is not at all impossible) or the Cornyn Bill leaves the Senate split. If that is the case I would prefer to have the best Bill we can get rather than blindly assuming they are all equally bad.
5. Lamar Alexander is my senator and he does not like AOT. No Bill will come out of the Senate he does not approve.
6. I believe that almost anything that defeats Tim Murphy and unseats him as the leader of mental health reform is good. With him as leader the Treatment Advocacy Center has a seat at the table possibly affecting decisions at a federal level for a very long time. Murphy has the ability to do a lot of damage to a lot of people and I think not giving him carte blanche is a good thing.
7. If the Senate bill does this and absent any other real alternatives is it not worthwhile to consider support of the Senate bill?
Like I said I have not read the bill and my opinion might change. If Tim Murphy is allowed to call the tune on this it will, I fear, not be the last song be tries to play. And it will open a door for the Treatment Advocacy Center that unchallenged all of us will come to regret.
Nothing is done. Support of the Green Bill in the House would be one option to consider. The final details of the Senate bill are no where close to being done. There is much to discuss and advocate.
But I do confess. Anything that lets the air out of Rep. Murphy’s tires has more than a little bit of appeal to me. Much of what I would like to see happen is not likely to be addressed in any legislation. Barring that I think that anything that prevents disaster is worth considering.