Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Will Ramstad have role in Obama administration?


WASHINGTON, D.C. — After 18 years in Congress, Minnesota Republican Jim
Ramstad is going out on a high. But thankfully not the kind of high
that marked the lowest point in his life, when he woke up in a Sioux
Falls, S.D., jail cell 27 years ago in an alcoholic stupor.
was a 35-year-old state senator at the time, charged with disorderly
conduct and resisting arrest after a night of drinking. It wasn't the
first time he'd blacked out during 12 years of abusing alcohol, a habit
that began during his senior year in college. But he was determined to
make sure it was the last time.
He decided to stop drinking
and to devote his life to helping others recover from chemical
addiction, which he says is a matter of life and death for nearly 30
million Americans.

The decision launched him on a crusade that has culminated with the
enactment of landmark legislation he championed to give recovering
alcoholics like himself and those with mental illnesses in their
families the same access to health insurance and treatment as those
with physical illnesses.
The legislation, officially the "The
Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction
Equity Act of 2008," was passed by Congress and signed into law by the
president on Oct. 3, as the 110th Congress recessed for the fall
elections before returning for a final lame duck session this week.

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