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Speaker Paul Ryan Promotes Mental Health Care as Means of Stemming Gun Violence

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked if he would propose gun legislation. He responded, “I haven’t thought of proposing gun legislation, I think the big problem we have is enforcing the law as we have on the books right now."

He then talked about mental health by saying “The other issue that I think we need to take a look at, and I’m pushing this in the Commerce committee, is Congressman Murphy’s legislation on mental health. I think we need to improve our mental health laws so we can address these problems before they get out of control, because mental health is a component to a lot of these shootings that, I think, we have not looked at seriously enough.”

Murphy’s bill, which would overhaul the system for treating seriously mentally ill people, will also undo restrictions preventing Medicaid from paying for physical and mental healthcare on the same day and from paying for care at certain mental health facilities.

The full committee session to consider the bill has not been scheduled yet. Committee Democrats are hoping they can make the measure more bipartisan before that session.

One part of the bill gives a 2-percent increase in federal grants to states with what are known as assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws allowing judges to mandate treatment for patients with serious mental illness. Another portion aims to let caregivers and family members to have more information about a mentally ill person’s care.

Photo: Business Insider

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