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Tourette Syndrome Association Celebrates the House Passage of LONG-AWAITED Mental Health Parity Legislation
Date:3/6/2008

BAYSIDE, N.Y., March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. (TSA), is hailing last night's vote in the United States House of Representatives approving The Mental Health Parity Act by a vote of 268-148. Also known as The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (H.R. 1424), the Mental Health Parity Act would provide mental health coverage as part of health insurance packages equal to the coverage in the plans for physical illnesses. TSA is the only membership driven, non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive programs of education, research and personal services to all people who have Tourette Syndrome (TS) and their families.

"For close to two decades, TSA and our members have been vigorously advocating for this legislation which would provide financial and health coverage relief to all Americans, including those with Tourette Syndrome," said Judit Ungar, President, TSA. "Passage of this bill is a huge victory. For the first time in the history of Mental Health Parity legislation, both the House and Senate have passed a bill aimed at ensuring that health insurance plans offer fair coverage for all illness, be it physical or mental."

Mental Health Parity is critical with long-standing importance to TSA and millions more. Parity fights discrimination, but more importantly it provides financial relief to those who pay an exorbitant amount of money out of pocket for their mental health coverage. Parity will cushion the enormous medical costs and provide proper medical care for the onset and treatment of neurobiological disorders such as TS.

TSA members were instrumental in the passage of this historical victory, by answering TSA's calls to action, contacting their local Representatives and urging them to vote for this crucial legislation.

"We are closer than ever to finally having comprehensive Parity legislation to benefit individuals with TS and all Americans," said Kenneth D. Moelis, Chairman of TSA. "We support Mental Health Parity legislation and urge the House and Senate leaders to continue their work together, reconcile differences and create a conference bill that will pass in both chambers and eventually become law."

"On behalf of all individuals with TS, we thank the sponsors, Representatives Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for their unwavering support in championing this bill," said Ms. Ungar.

Marked by involuntary twitching and vocal tics, Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurobiological condition frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed, affecting more than 200,000 Americans. Founded in 1972, the national Tourette Syndrome Association celebrates 36 years of service to the TS community worldwide. As the only national, voluntary health organization for people with TS, the TSA has a three-pronged mission of education, research and service and directs a network of 31 chapters, two regional offices and more than 150 support groups across the country. For more information about TS, call 1-888-4-TOURET or visit http://tsa-usa.org.

CONTACT: Tracy Colletti-Flynn of Tourette Syndrome Association, +1-718-224-2999 ext 236


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SOURCE Tourette Syndrome Association
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