MHP Legislative Update:

A new initiative keeping you informed of the policy world

Look for what's happening in your state!

Texas v. Azar - Federal

What's the issue: This past year, the state of Texas, along with 17 Republican state attorneys general and two Republican governors (known as the plaintiffs), sued Alex Azar (Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services) arguing that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) was unconstitutional and should be repealed.

This argument is based off of a Supreme Court decision that ruled that the individual mandate (the rule that says you have to have health insurance or pay an annual penalty) was the "glue" to keeping the ACA together. When Congress repealed the individual mandate within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December, it opened the door for claims that the whole law must now be repealed.

What's the update: This past Friday evening, Judge Reed O'Connor (a Federal judge in Texas) ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and declared the ACA to be unconstitutional. The State of California has already begun the process of appealing the ruling, and it is expected that other states will join in that appeal.

What can you do: Contact your state's attorney general and ask them to join California in appealing the ruling. It is important we show our legislators how critical the ACA is to the mental and behavioral health community!

Looking for more information?: This NPR article breaks down the case and what it means for the country in a simple and easy to understand way!

IMPORTANT: This ruling does not change anything for enrollment in 2019. People who signed up through the marketplace this past month will still be able to receive their insurance as planned for the time being.

Janine Weeks

An Analysis of Homeless Service Systems for Adults with Behavioral Health Challenges in Bucks County

Click here to view or download the PDF!


Ned Redmond
Annual Report 2017

See what we accomplished together!

The hope-building we do, together with our many partners, is not something that’s easily defined, measured, and evaluated. Nor is it easily shared with people secondhand. That doesn’t mean we won’t keep trying to show the impact of hope in action. Indeed, the data and the myriad stories from our partners are both the result of and source for hope.

As an organization and movement built on hope and great achievements, it’s no surprise we look toward 2018 with such anticipation.

Click here to view the 2017 Annual Report.

People First Fall 2017

Peer Support Offers New Hope for People with Mental Health Conditions and Criminal Justice Histories - By Elisa Ludwig

Some programs in Pennsylvania provide forensic peer support, in which peer supporters have a history of mental health challenges and, ideally, also have lived experience with the criminal justice system. These programs can be powerfully effective in helping individuals return to life in the community after time spent in jail or prison.

Supported Education Helps Students in Recovery Earn Academic Degrees and Pursue Career Goals - By Elisa Ludwig

Supported education is a critically important set of services to help students succeed in post-secondary schools, from vocational training through graduate programs.

Life with a Semicolon - By Joyce Snyder

“Two years ago, at the age of 47, I got my first tattoo: a green semicolon on the inside of my forearm...A semicolon is used when an author could have ended a sentence but instead chose not to. I am the author, and the sentence is my life.”

People First 2017 Fall (Click here to download)

Ned RedmondPeople First
People First Spring/Summer 2017

Shared Decision Making Transforms Mental Health Care Delivery in PA

Increasing numbers of behavioral health care services in Pennsylvania are promoting shared decision making (SDM), in which service users and providers work together to determine the course of treatment. The advantages of SDM can be understood intuitively: Why wouldn’t a person be at the center of his or her own care?

In Philadelphia, a Model Program Seeks to Help Males of Color Work Toward Recovery

In Philadelphia, a model program called Engaging Males of Color (EMOC) is connecting with men and boys across the city’s racial and ethnic enclaves to promote the idea that seeking help for mental health issues is not a sign of weakness.

Hope Is a Thing That Sings

The author writes: “Finding my passion, and then finding a way to help others through my passion, is more than recovery. It’s discovery!”

People First 2017 Spring/Summer (Click here to download)

People First Winter 2017

PA Takes Action to Confront the Opioid Epidemic by Elisa Ludwig

While the opioid epidemic is raging across the United States, it is particularly rampant in Pennsylvania. To address this growing scourge, Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is taking unprecedented steps across multiple fronts.

PA Initiatives Fight the Prejudice and Discrimination Associated with Mental Health Conditions by Elisa Ludwig

In Pennsylvania there are numerous initiatives devoted to changing the way people think about mental health, to open minds—and doors. And such education is sorely needed.

Smashing the Golden Calf: How I Demolished a False Idol and Rebuilt My Life by Julie Greene

The author writes: “God is the passion within us all, the intense drive to act and do good in the world, to achieve and be who we are… Within each of us we will find everything we need to survive, thrive, and be happy.”

People First 2017 Winter (Click here to download)