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Solutions, not scapegoats

If Republican leaders are talking about mental health, it's generally for one reason — to avoid talking about guns.

And so, after this weekend's massacres in El Paso and Dayton, the GOP went on TV to lament America's broken mental health system.

Unfortunately, they've got no credibility:

They've voted again and again to slash Medicaid – the country's largest payer of mental health benefits – by $800 billion.

They've fought to scale back or eliminate essential mental health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

They're cheering on the Trump administration's lawsuit – which is happening right now – to nullify the ACA and take mental health coverage away from millions.

These aren't the actions of people who are truly concerned about folks with mental illness.

We absolutely need dramatic mental health reform, to remove the stigma, enforce insurance parity, and infuse our system with the resources it needs to give everyone access to life-saving care.

But as far as gun violence is concerned, the facts here are clear — people with mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to commit one.

Dealing with gun violence means dealing with guns: universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, taking weapons of war off of our streets.

But the NRA has Republican leaders so scared they are afraid to even have this conversation. Instead of solutions, they look for scapegoats.

And once again, innocent people are paying the price.


Posted on August 9, 2019.

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Joe Kennedy III represents Massachusetts' 4th District in Congress. A principled and passionate advocate for economic, social, and racial justice, Joe is working to improve access to quality, affordable health care, and is determined to fight for all who call this country home.

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