Capitol Hill hot topics: Mental health, abortion and entitlement cuts

Roll Call explores how some lawmakers have strong personal connections to issues related to mental health and gun violence. Meanwhile, anti-abortion advocates are eyeing the next continuing resolution as a vehicle to soften the Obama administration's birth control coverage mandate. Finally, Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew answers questions about entitlements.

Roll Call: Mental-Health Interest Is Personal For Many Lawmakers
For Rep. Ron Barber, the discussion about gun violence and mental health that has followed December's elementary school shooting has a deeply personal element: The Arizona Democrat was among the injured after a mentally unstable gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in 2011…Barber is one of many lawmakers who has a strong connection to the issue, either personally, because of a career before Congress, or both, and has made mental health a priority. A number of those members have introduced legislation focused on mental health in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, hoping to parlay their knowledge and the energy of the moment into change (Attias, 2/25).

The Hill: Anti-Abortion-Rights Groups Demand Protections In CR Bill
Opponents of abortion rights are rallying support for softening President Obama's birth-control mandate in a bill to fund the government. The current continuing resolution, or CR, expires March 27. On Monday, a coalition of groups that oppose abortion called for a new CR that will allow certain non-religious groups not to cover the "morning after" pill in their health plans (Viebeck, 2/25).

The Hill: Lew: White House Opposes Higher Medicare Age, Medicaid Cuts
The White House still opposes entitlement cuts it once supported, Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew said in response to questions from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, asked Lew about Medicare and Medicaid cuts in written questions following a hearing on his nomination (Baker, 2/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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