Senate Moves forward on Mental Health Parity Legislation

This morning the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions passed the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S 558) and it should make it to the floor for a vote in a few weeks. The legislation requires employers and health plans to equally cover treatment for mental illness. This legislation, known as the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S 558), would expand an existing 1996 federal law and prohibit employers and health plans from imposing durational treatment limits and financial limitations on coverage for mental illness that do not apply to all other medical conditions.

42 states have mental health parity laws, Ohio's law will kick in around the end of March. The proposed Federal Legislation is stronger than Ohio's law. It will mandate that insurance policies that have mental health benifits treat mental health coverage equitably with
other medical conditions.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, encourages you to contact your Senators and urge them to support S 558. It is critically important that strong and immediate bipartisan support be demonstrated for this legislation.

When contacting Senate offices, it is critically important to remind them that:

  • Mental illnesses are real
  • Treatment works
  • There is no justification for a health plan to impose limits or conditions on coverage that do not apply to all other illnesses, and
  • After nearly 15 years of delay, it is time for the Senate finally pass parity legislation.
The quick way to reach your Senators:
  • Use NAMI's Legislative Action Center, a web-based tool, to immediately send a letter to both of your Senators. This tool also allows you to print the letter to mail or fax to your Senator.
  • Phone calls – All Senate offices can be reached through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 (this is NOT a toll-free call) or avoid long distance charges by getting the phone numbers of each Senator’s state offices in the Blue Pages of your local phone book.

No comments: