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Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update

Laura Schiebelhut, Brain Injury Association of America, Public Affairs Manager has requested that I circulate the following legislative update

Dear Advocates:

This week was an eventful one on Capitol Hill, including a long-awaited breakthrough on legislation to reauthorize the TBI Act.

On Wednesday, March 5, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee announced its plans to markup the Reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act (H.R. 1418) the following day, on Thursday, March 6.  Although the markup session was ultimately stalled (see below for more information), this development still marks very positive progress towards the goal of getting the TBI Act reauthorized before the end of this year, a leading BIAA policy priority. 

Also this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1424, mental health parity legislation sponsored by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) which would require health insurers to offer mental health benefits equal in cost and scope to medical and surgical benefits.  BIAA issued an enthusiastic letter of endorsement for the bill shortly before it was considered on the House floor. 
Looking ahead to next week, the fiscal 2009 budget resolutions are expected to be the focal point of legislative activity in both the House and Senate, as both chambers will consider their respective budget plans before adjourning for the two-week spring recess which begins on March 17.  Of course, next week will also include multiple TBI advocacy and awareness activities on Wednesday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.

I will be on Capital Hill on March 12th in connection with Brain Injury Awareness Day and hope to see many of my friends and colleagues.

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