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The Biggest News Ever, and True Bipartisanship

Oct 3 2008 | Comments 4

Mental Health Parity, almost by accident, has PASSED. This means “more than 100 million Americans will gain equitable coverage and improved access to needed mental health care,” according to MHA. Do you know how long we’ve been waiting for this? People will tell me it’s no big deal. If you feel that way, look at my health insurance plan. You know how many states have crap laws right now? Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter. It does.

SenPeteDomenici.jpg

From MHA:

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.

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Thanks to Ted Kennedy and Pete Domenici, pictured. Currently, the only states that have FULL parity are:
* Connecticut 1999
* Maryland 1994
* Minnesota 1995
* Vermont 1997
* Oregon 2005

From MHA: “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.”

And thanks so much to Rep. Jim Ramstad, pictured below:

Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., says he will switch his vote from no to yes on the financial bailout bill, in part because the new version includes his long quest for mental health parity.

Ramstad voted against the bill on Monday, but the Senate added several sweeteners to the version that it passed Wednesday. One of those is legislation championed by Ramstad that would require equal health insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses when policies cover both.

Ramstad is retiring after this year and has said he wants to see mental health parity become law before he leaves. In a statement Thursday, he also cited the new bill’s inclusion of tax relief and an increase in the limit on federal deposit insurance.

He says “there’s too much at stake” to let the bill fail.

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Financial Bailout Carries Mental Health Parity Bill Through Congress


liz | 1:13 PM | Uncategorized

taylor Says:

disappointing to see senator paul wellstone (one of the original authors of the bill, along with sen domenici) not mentioned at all here… he championed for this most of his senate career, and with this bill passing a few weeks before the 6th anniversary of his death, it’s certainly bittersweet.

Oct 3 3:27 PM

Dennis Says:

This is wonderful news, Liz, and way overdue. Hopefully, the new law will address the arbitrarily set limit on psychotherapy visits.

I remember how frustrating it was years ago when – deep in my psychosis – my therapist and I had to breakdown visits to as brief as 10 minute increments to not exceed this limit.

Dennis

Oct 3 3:40 PM

Larry Says:

How sad that Pete Domenici (who I disagree with on A LOT of other issues, but applaud on this one) and Ted Kennedy are going through their own chronic and likely fatal illnesses at the time when they have helped so many Americans.

I hear people complaining on other Web sites that the bailout is going to cost too much money, so who cares about parity.

The bailout — whether you agree, disagree, or like me don’t know what to think — was going to pass and be signed (and that’s the key) by President Bush anyway. PARITY WASN’T.

As a parliamentary tactic, linking the two was nothing short of brilliant. And Liz, you are a light in a lot of dark commentary I’ve read on this.

Oct 3 3:40 PM

Emily Says:

Congratulations! This is absolutely brilliant! :D I’m so happy for you Americans. Whoo! I literally did a little dance in my room when I read about this.

Oct 5 10:39 AM

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