The Senate challenge to Tim Murphy

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/273231-bipartisan-mental-health-bill-advances-in-senate

Senators said they hope their work pushes the House along and that Sens. Murphy and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), two of the leaders of the upper chamber’s effort, can serve as an example of bridging partisan differences. 

“I think [the Senate bill] does diverge [with the House bill], but Sen. Murphy and Sen. Cassidy started out with much of the House bill, and worked with their colleagues to come up with a bipartisan approach that’s a consensus,” Alexander said. “That might help the House come to a conclusion.” 

Earlier today I wrote a post about the “bomb Lamar Alexander dropped in Tim Murphy ‘s lap.” Several people were confused by the title and seemed insure of what I was trying to say. This post is in part a response to that confusion.

The above link is to an article about the markup. The last 2 paragraphs of the article are also posted. The quote from Alexander speaks volumes.

He talks about the fact that the Senate basically started with the Murphy Bill and “…. Sen. Murphy and Sen. Cassidy started out with much of the House bill, and worked with their colleagues to come up with a bipartisan approach that’s a consensus,” Alexander said. “That might help the House come to a conclusion.” 

The Senate Bill despite what you think of is provisions (and there are legitimate criticisms) is a direct challenge to the idea that mental health reform begins and ends with Tim Murphy and that the Murphy Bill is overwhelmingly inevitable. It is a direct challenge to Murphy’s allegiance to ideology over bipartisanship. It clearly says consensus is the only answer and implies another challenge to House leadership to get their act together.

This Bill is not a done deal. Several members talked about their hope to add amendments to do away with the IMD exclusion. That carries a large price tag with it and that is a major battle I hope they lose. They also mention Sen Cornyn ‘s Bill which there is still a lot of partisan debate about. Nothing may end up happening but make no mistake this Bill is a direct challenge to Tim Murphy and a statement he is no longer in control of the debate.

No mental health bill is coming out of the Senate without Alexander’s agreement. Months ago he told a friend of mine he did not like AOT and that it would not fly in the Senate. He had held true to that.

The Senate bill is not the Murphy Bill but it is very much a statement about the Murphy Bill. It is time for the House to get its business in order. Wonder if Tim Murphy will ever allow it to do so?

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