The House passage of parity marks a historic day in the lives of millions of individuals and families across the country affected by mental and addiction disorders
Washington DC (PRWEB) March 13, 2008
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for passing HR 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.
"The House passage of parity marks a historic day in the lives of millions of individuals and families across the country affected by mental and addiction disorders" said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. "It is time to recognize that these illnesses must be treated on par with other health conditions."
HR 1424 takes the necessary first step towards ending discriminatory health insurance policies that deny or restrict access to treatment for people who are suffering from mental illnesses and addiction disorders. If it becomes law, the bill will require health insurers to offer mental health benefits equal in cost and scope to medical and surgical benefits. It will prevent insurers from requiring larger co-payments or imposing lower reimbursement ceilings for mental health and addiction conditions.
Rosenberg added, "The National Council promotes a provider-focused public policy and legislative agenda that urges government leaders to improve and strengthen mental health and addictions treatment by acting to promote access to high-quality, cost-effective community-based treatment and supports while assuring adequate resources to meet mental health and addictions treatment needs through necessary increases in Medicaid and Medicare, SCHIP, and federal appropriations and grants."
The bill passed by a vote of 268-148. This is the first time the parity bill has made it through the House, although the Senate has passed various versions for a decade now. The National Council looks forward to working with Congress towards final passage and enactment of this landmark bill into law.
To speak to national policy experts on the impact of parity, contact Meena Dayak at 301.984.6200, ext. 228 or MeenaD @ thenationalcouncil.org.
About The National Council
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,400 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.