ADVANCE Health Insurance Reform!

By Kathy Kelso

The August congressional recess has brought us opportunities to talk with our Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen to urge enactment of a strong, comprehensive health insurance reform bill.

It is important for mental health advocates to counter negative messages spread by anti-reform groups. Urge Members of Congress to improve health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans by:

  • Preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more because of a pre-existing condition, like a mental illness, or dropping and reducing coverage if you become seriously ill.
  • Ensuring payment for evidenced-based practices that work.
  • Extending Medicaid to households with incomes below at least 133% of the federal poverty level.
  • Requiring that all plans include mental health and chemical dependency treatment, and that this coverage must be at full parity (i.e., equal to the coverage of physical health conditions).

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law provides a detailed webpage on how the legislation affects individuals with a mental illness and issue briefs on the integration of mental health services in healthcare reform.

A number of policy proposals are under consideration, and parity for mental health must be a fundamental benefit in the final congressional act. We know that our Senators support parity and reform, as do some of our Congressional representatives. Thank them for all they are doing to enact historic health care reform!  Contact elected officials.

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