Senator Chris Murphy attended a bill signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday where President Obama signed into law the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act, co-authored by Murphy, as part of the 21st Century CURES Act. Murphy’s bill will comprehensively overhaul America’s mental health system, expand federal resources, and improve coordination for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
The mental health portion of the bill was advocated for by Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy organization created after the shootings at Sandy Hook School.
The 21st Century Cures Act invests $1.8 billion for a cancer research ``moonshot'' that is strongly supported by Biden. The vice president's son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
The bill also authorizes giving states $1 billion over two years to prevent and treat the abuse of opioids and other addictive drugs like heroin.
Overall, the measure plans $6.3 billion in new spending over the coming decade. The bill also streamlines the approval process for drugs and medical devices at the Food and Drug Administration.
Murphy said it was an honor to stand behind President Obama at his final bill signing ceremony and watch him enact the most significant reforms of our mental health system in decades. He added that mental illness and addiction do not discriminate, so the health care system shouldn’t either.