i9 Fact Checker: Ad correct on expanding mental health services

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One political ad argues Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-01) 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 National Republican Congressional Committee

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

The National Republican Congressional Committee, according to its website, is a campaign arm for the Republicans to increase the number of party members in the House of Representatives. Its chairman, who is a current congressman from Minnesota, is elected by Republican representatives and serves in House Republican Leadership.

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

Analysis: This ad refers to legislation President Joe Biden (D) signed into law in 2021 called the 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 Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) Programs in places with a need for mental health care for veterans.

The RANGE Program provides intensive care management services, including homeless outreach, to seriously mentally ill Veterans in rural areas. The law also requires the Government Accountability Office to research if the VA has enough resources to serve rural veterans with severe mental illness.

This piece of legislation is named after Sgt. Brandon Ketchum, an Iowan who died from suicide after being denied access to mental health services at a VA facility in Iowa. The Congressional Budget Office said implementing the law will cost about $4 Million from 2021 to 2026.

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

Conclusion: Politicians try to take credit for all sorts of new programs while in office. Regardless, this was a bipartisan piece of legislation Rep. Hinson originally co-sponsored with multiple other lawmakers. That’s why this gets an A.