Correct announcement on expansion of mental health services

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — A political ad claims Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-01) has improved mental health services for veterans in rural areas.

Rep. Hinson is running against State Senator Liz Mathis (D-Cedar Rapids).

Source: Ashley Hinson for Congress and the Republican National Congressional Committee

Ashley Hinson for Congress is the name of Rep. Ashley Hinson’s campaign, according to Federal Election Commission documents. The campaign is spending $2 million on ads leading up to Election Day.

The Republican National Congressional Committee, according to its website, is a campaign arm of Republicans to increase party membership in the House of Representatives. Its president, who is currently a congressman from Minnesota, is elected by Republican representatives and sits in the Republican leadership of the House.

Claim #1: “Ashley Hinson helped lead the fight to expand mental health services for veterans. It is now the law.

Analysis: This announcement refers to legislation that President Joe Biden (D) signed into law in 2021, called Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021.

The law, according to the Congressional Research Service, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create three Growth Enhancement Rural Access Network (RANGE) programs in places in need of mental health care for veterans.

The RANGE program provides critical care management services, including homeless outreach, to seriously mentally ill veterans in rural areas. The law also requires the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether the VA has enough resources to serve rural veterans with serious mental illness.

This bill is named after Sgt. Brandon Ketchum, an Iowanese who committed suicide after being denied access to mental health services at a VA facility in Iowa. The Congressional Budget Office said implementing the law would cost about $4 million from 2021 to 2026.

The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-03) and includes the rest of the Iowa congressional delegation as original cosponsors, including Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-01).

Conclusion: Politicians try to take credit for all sorts of new programs during their tenure. Either way, it was a bipartisan bill that Rep. Hinson originally co-sponsored with several other lawmakers. That’s why this gets a A.

Virginia C. Taylor