Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

Sep 23, 2008
Floor Speech


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   Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, it is time to remove the stigma and to destroy the barriers for individuals struggling with mental illness and addiction. Experienced by many of our returning brave soldiers, on the front page of USA Today, finally we have a breakthrough here.

   A society of denial results in stigmatizing the admonition of emotional problems. For far too long we focused on the external injuries to the body and ignored the maladies of the mind. For too long it seemed as if we could not treat what we could not see. But modern medicine and science is showing us that these are real diseases with real treatments. It shows us that there is hope, as stated by Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Ramstad.

   Mr. Speaker, this is a civil rights issue. Parity removes the discrimination against a population that has been discriminated against and stigmatized. This is a humanitarian issue. Without parity, we allow those with illnesses to continue to suffer.

   In closing, I would like to say that Paul Wellstone was a great and admirable man. He was a champion for this legislation. Today we honor him by passing this bill. The time is right. Let's pass this today.