Barack Obama vs. John McCain: On Mental Health

Background Data

The “New Freedom Commission on Mental Health”

The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health is a 93-page report put together by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry in 2003 as a recommendation to the President for mental health plans in the US.

The only words to describe the recommendations of this report are “Orwellian” and horrifying.

This plan lays out detailed programs to screen all Americans for mental “disorders” and includes recommended drug treatment plans. It includes specific mental health screening programs for the elderly, all military personnel, all U.S. school children, drug addicts (and redefining drug addiction as a mental “disease”) the poor, screening all pregnant women and infants, (the MOTHERS Act and another bill detailed below) specific drug treatment “flow charts,” mental health “parity” (equal coverage for mental illness as that granted for real physical illness/disease) and more.

It also includes a comprehensive drug plan, which is basically a flow chart of psychiatric drugs — essentially “try this drug; if it fails, try this other drug; if that fails, combine drugs; if that fails… down to electroshock.”

According to Wikipedia, “Opponents of the plan have questioned the motives of the commission, largely from a civil liberties perspective, asserting the initiative campaign is little more than a thinly veiled proxy for the pharmaceutical industry, which, in its pursuit of profits, is too eager to foster psychotropic medication interventions. The recommendations of the NFC have drawn fire from individuals and groups who say it is a violation of civil liberties.”

The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health was commissioned by President Bush to create this report with their recommendations. But the laws to enforce their recommendations are what are now surfacing. The only member of Congress to introduce any law in opposition to the NFC is Congressman Ron Paul who introduced the Parental Consent Act of 2005 and 2007.

Please keep this in mind when reading the following data. To read more on the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health: go here.

Raw Data: Obama vs. McCain

This is a bill that calls for mental health screening and “treatment” of all pregnant women and women who have recently given birth. For more information on the MOTHERS Act: read this.

Obama is one of 10 co-sponsors.

McCain is not a co-sponsor.

Obama: “Mental health screenings for all troops”

In remarks prepared for delivery on Sunday, the Illinois Democrat proposed changes to recruitment and deployment of military mental health providers. He called for the Pentagon to recruit more professionals to help identify and treat problems. And he seeks mandatory mental health screenings of all troops.

According to Obama’s plan, the military would require face-to-face mental health screenings for all service members. By making it mandatory, Obama said the military could reduce the stigma associated with mental health screening and treatment.

The plan also would institute early mental health screenings so future psychological injuries could be more easily diagnosed and treated.
McCain opposes this bill.

Obama on McCain: “I have great respect for John McCain’s service to this country and I know he loves it dearly and honors those who serve. But he is one of the few Senators of either party who oppose this bill.”

Mental Health “Parity”:

Obama: “I am a longtime supporter of mental health parity. I helped pass the Illinois mental health parity law. And my national public health plan will include coverage of all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care. I strongly support mental health fairness and parity of mental health coverage in all federal health programs. I cosponsored the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 and I am a supporter of the bipartisan Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007. Similarly, I believe in prohibiting group health plans from imposing treatment or financial limitations on mental health and substance related disorder benefits that are different from those applied to medical or surgical services. I am also committed to ensuring that Americans with disabilities or mental illness receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits in a low cost, effective and timely manner.”

McCain has voted against mental health parity and, in his health care plan on his website, makes no mention of mental health as an issue.

Mental Health Screening of Low-Income Families

“Barack Obama would expand the highly successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families. The trained nurses use proven methods to help improve the mental and physical health of the family by providing counseling on substance abuse, creating and achieving personal goals, and effective methods of nurturing children.”

More information on the Nurse-Family Partnership: “Early detection and treatment of mental disorders can result in a substantially shorter and less disabling course of illness. As the mental health field becomes increasingly able to identify the early antecedents of mental illnesses at any age, interventions must be implemented, provided in multiple settings, and connected to treatment and supports.

“Early interventions, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, and educational efforts can help a greater number of parents, the public, and providers learn about the importance of the first years of a child’s life and how to establish a foundation for healthy social and emotional development. Quality screening and early intervention should occur in readily accessible, low-stigma settings, such as primary health care facilities and schools, and in settings where a high level of risk for mental health problems exists, such as juvenile justice and child welfare.”

Obama’s and McCain’s Positions on Mental Health Care

See this – an excellent article comparing the two candidates. Here are some excerpts:
Barack Obama’s position on mental health issues as stated in his health care plan:

Obama specifically includes mental health care in his health care plan. It states: Improve Mental Health Care. Mental illness affects approximately one in five American families. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that untreated mental illnesses cost the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. As president, Obama will support mental health parity so that coverage for serious mental illnesses are provided on the same terms and conditions as other illnesses and diseases.

John McCain’s position on mental health issues as stated in his health care plan:

McCain’s health care plan does not mention mental health.

Obama and McCain on H.R. 1424/S558 “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007″ Bill:

Obama co-sponsored, along with 56 others, the bipartisan Senate’s S558 version of H.R. 1424 “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007″ bill. McCain did not sponsor the bill. The White House is opposed to it.

Big Pharma contributions to candidates


Obama, Barack (D)

McCain, John (R)

In Their Own Words

Barack Obama:

“As you may know, mental illness affects approximately one in five American families, and we must do more address this issue. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that untreated mental illnesses cost the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, I worked to improve mental health services for people with serious problems who are going untreated and undiagnosed.

“It is important to end discrimination against those with mental illness, and that’s why I support the bipartisan Paul Wellstone (D-MN) Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, an updated version of legislation that Senator Wellstone championed for over a decade in Congress. This bill works to end discrimination against people suffering from mental illness and addiction.

“I also support mental health parity. When suicide is responsible for more deaths in America than AIDS and homicides combined, we must act. That’s why I have championed efforts to improve awareness of mental illnesses and provide timely and appropriate treatment, and why I cosponsored the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007. Parity means that we don’t allow group health plans to impose treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical or surgical services. The bill closes the loopholes that allow discrimination in coverage that does not apply to other illnesses.

“I’m proud of my record on this issue. I helped pass mental a health [sic] parity bill as an Illinois state senator that requires coverage for serious mental illnesses to be provided on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to other illnesses and diseases.”


John McCain:

“The next President will face a great challenge due to the rising cost of health care of all types. America has the finest doctors and medical science, and the treatment of mental health has shared in these advances. However, as with other aspects of our health care system, spending on mental and behavioral health treatments is rising rapidly. The challenge is to ensure high quality care, establish incentives to control the growth of costs, and thereby permit greater affordable choices….

“A sensible goal is to design reimbursement for taking care of the whole patient, whatever ails them, and recognize the essential role mental health treatment plays in the overall health of the patient and the reduction in physical health needs.

“I have stressed the central role of personal responsibility in leading to lower health care costs. Personal fitness and better lifestyles, especially reduction in addictions of all types – food, narcotics, or cigarettes – can yield dramatic improvements in the cost of chronic illness and high‐cost medical care. We can do a better job of treating addictions, but we also have an obligation to do a better job of teaching our children the benefits of good lifestyles and the perils of addictive activities.”

The VPs

Joe Biden: Redefining Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse as a Mental Illness and Changing the Names of Government Organizations to Reflect This

A bill introduced by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) that would define addiction as a brain disease is moving in the Senate. Treatment professionals, mainstream scientists, and recovery advocates see it as a good thing. There are some skeptics, though. The bill, the Recognizing Addiction as a Disease Act of 2007 (S. 1011), would also change the name of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction, and change the name of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. “Addiction is a neurobiological disease — not a lifestyle choice — and it’s about time we start treating it as such,” said Sen. Biden in a statement when he introduced this bill this spring.

“We must lead by example and change the names of our federal research institutes to accurately reflect this reality. By changing the way we talk about addiction, we change the way people think about addiction, both of which are critical steps in getting past the social stigma too often associated with the disease.”

Gov. Sarah Palin has no national record on introducing legislation on mental health issues.

Conclusion: Who Do Psychs Pick?


“Based upon our findings, we’d have to say the stronger mental health and psychology candidate is Obama. Whereas McCain tends to support mental health causes when in the majority, he doesn’t appear to go out on a limb for anything in the areas of mental health or psychological sciences funding. Obama, on the other hand, has co-sponsored a major piece of Senate legislation in mental health (mental health parity) and shows he understands the stigma still associated with mental health issues in his co-sponsorship of the Mothers Act.”

13 thoughts on “Barack Obama vs. John McCain: On Mental Health

  1. Psychiatry has historically been used to pathologize and repress dissidents and other non-conformists. Requiring mental screenings is dangerous, for this very reason. The tests used in the screenings were designed by people connected with pharmaceutical companies. This shows these tests likely are biased toward false positives. The drugs used in the “treatment” of “mental illnesses” are more for social control and repression than any kind of healing. They have disabling effects and can often cause permanently debilitating effects, likely furthering dependence on psychiatry and other forms of government-run social programs. Psychiatric “diagnoses” are made subjectively, rather than using objective biological tests.

  2. This article is so bogus. First of all, anyone who quotes wikepedia as a source, needs to find a new day job and possible go back to school. Second of all there are supposed “facts” listed here that are simply not true and cannot be backed up against real records or evidence. For instance, with a simple click you can read, in detail, Obama’s health care plan and mental health is never mentioned in the ways suggested here. NEVER. Go check for yourself. Also, if you look up the bills being discusses, again with a simple click, you will find a gross misrepresentation of facts and of who did or didn’t support these bills. IF you read this and believe it, it’s out of selfishness and laziness to do your own research of FACTS not wikedpedia and here-say. Get off your ass and check the “facts” this writer spews.

  3. If you have proof of a smidgen of what you are saying then you should provide it. For example, go look up the sources that were cited and many of these bills and do the research to see who supported them. Then you can post what you find here. Angry comments without specifics of what you are referring to are not useful other than to make readers wonder what ‘possible’ reason you would have to come to a website like this and tell someone you don’t even know that they are ‘selfish’ and ‘lazy’ and need to ‘get off their ass.’

    “First of all, anyone who quotes wikepedia as a source, needs to find a new day job and possible go back to school. ”
    Maybe you should go to Wikipedia to brush up on rules of grammar:

    “For instance, with a simple click you can read, in detail, Obama’s health care plan and mental health is never mentioned in the ways suggested here.”

    Angie – Obviously as you can see the above article has numerous sources cited. I have also done extensive research on some of the things in this article, although I did not write the article. For you to come on here and hurl insults and profanity and claim that he does not cosponsor these bills is ridiculous, especially considering your ‘one click’ philosophy. It took quite a bit more research and effort to find out the information that was presented in this article than simply clicking on a candidate’s summary of a ‘health plan’ in a single puff article on his PR campaign website.

    There are other sources in the world besides

  4. No where do I see any mention of what is proposed for the millions of Americans suffering from mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, that are homeless because the system has broken down. We went from instutionalizing these people to leaving them with out a place to live. Screening is a nice idea but what is specifically proposed to help these people get their meds, take their meds and help them function. It can’t be done from the streets.

  5. Thank you for this data. It has now, since the election, become apparent which way Obama leans on Mental Health. Today he has appointed a huge Mental Health proponent to the Secretary of Education post. How unfortunate.

  6. Thank you for checking Miss ‘One-click-away’.

    That said, I agree that it would take a bit of research to get to the bottom line of how any public official supported or didn’t support matters on mental health.

    I am waaaay happy to hear Barack’s desire to address the matter at all. Our country has ALWAYS dropped the ball on mental health…from when we locked people away and experimented on them…electric shock, etc…to how we leave them on the streets now…no medical monitoring being done at all. So IF anyone is addressing it at all I’m grateful!!!!!!

  7. I’m currently using a classic blogger template and I would like to know how you put an rss feed on it. Normally, blogger has an rss feed avaliable on the newer templates but my blog doesn’t have one. Also, is there some sort of widget I could also install for followers?.

  8. […] Everyone is affected in some way by the mental health industry. Here is a good resource to help you gauge the positions of Obama and McCain on government screening programs, mental health “parity” and mental health care, as well as their levels of drug company funding. The psych industry’s choice? Obama.   more » […]

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