Senators, film director unveil mental health bill

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The centers would receive permission to bill Medicaid as other community health centers do when they provide health services.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a sponsor of the bill, said it comes as the United States confronts serious mental healthcare needs.

"We have a moment that works, and a model that works," Blunt said Thursday. "The time is right, and the model is right."

Blunt and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) appeared at a press conference to unveil the measure. Supporters also include Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

"Increasing services is what we are talking about here," Stabenow said. "We would treat an additional 1.5 million people through the legislation, and we would be able to expand access to about 200,000 more veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who also need support."

Russell has been nominated for an Academy Award for "Silver Linings Playbook," which chronicles the struggle of a man with bipolar disorder.

On Thursday, he spoke about his 19-year-old son, who attends a therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut for kids with Asperger's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health conditions.

"I did it for my son, so he could feel less stigmatized," Russell said of the film. "When your son is 11 and he has a mood disorder and he tells you that he's not so happy about this business called living, you would do anything for that child to turn it around."

The senators' bill would cost $1.4 billion over 10 years.