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Mental Health America Hails Approval of Federal Parity Legislation
Date:10/3/2008

Bill Broadly Outlaws Health Insurance Discrimination; Recognizes Importance of Mental Health to Overall Health

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mental Health America today hailed as "a great civil rights victory" the approval of a mental health parity legislation that will broadly outlaw health insurance discrimination against Americans with mental health and substance-use conditions in employer-sponsored health plans.

The legislation, which recognizes the importance of mental health to overall health, bans employers and insurers from imposing stricter limits on coverage for mental health and substance-use conditions than those set for other health problems. It will provide parity for 82 million Americans covered by self-insured plans and another 31 million in plans that are subject to state regulation.

It is estimated that roughly 67 percent of adults and 80 percent of children requiring mental health services do not receive help, in large part because of discriminatory insurance practices

Mental Health America, which has worked for years to pass mental health parity, applauded Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), as well as Senate and House leadership key committee chairmen for championing the legislation and their long-standing commitment to ending this civil rights inequity. This victory also owes much to tireless champions such as Rosalyn Carter, David Wellstone and tens of thousands of Americans who have pressed for this historic reform.

"This is a historic day and a great civil rights victory for millions of Americans who have been unable to access mental health treatment," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "With approval of this bill, we will tear down the walls of stigma and discrimination and open the doors to the power and promise of treatment and recovery. It rec
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SOURCE Mental Health America
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