Rep. Chris Stewart has been on a PR blitz of late, touting his concern about Utah's near-highest-in-the-country suicide rate. It sounds reassuring, but it is what many would call a “concern troll.”
First, he repeatedly and inaccurately claimed his recent National Suicide Improvement Act created a three-digit suicide hotline. As Stewart acknowledges in rare moments of honesty, his bill merely creates a committee of federal agencies “to explore using a three-digit dialing code.”
Think about that. He finds Utah’s suicide problem so urgent that he … created a committee. The three-digit hotline is a good concept, yet he chose not to introduce legislation that actually does that.
Worse, he proudly exclaims he has voted more than 40 times to rescind mental health care as an essential benefit of health insurance. This requirement of the Affordable Care Act is the only reason many people now have access to preventive mental health services that might materially reduce the risks of suicide.
We, his constituents in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, recognize just how cheap Stewart’s words are. We are also appalled that he finds his constituents’ lives even more cheap than his words.
Craig Buschmann, Salt Lake City