David Earl Johnson, LICSW

3 minute read

In some ways, the medical insurance business is in the Dark Ages. Mental and chemical health treatment are often not even included in insurance coverage. Even if it is, it is seldom afforded coverage equivalent for what you might get for a heart attack or other major surgery. Senator Paul Wellstone led a 5 year fight for mental health insurance parity, until he tragically died campaigning for a second term. His and other’s attempts to changing the law has been beaten back by business lobbies concerned about increased costs and special interest lobbies with considerable clout, like Scientology. The fact is, mental health coverage [does not increase insurance costs][1]. Finally, with changes in the legislature, there is a growing consensus to change this blatant discrimination. But this is not a sure thing and it needs your support. Send an email with just a click to your legislators at the link below to urge his support.

“Mental health parity took its critical first steps toward enactment with Senate committee adoption on February 14th of a parity bill introduced two days earlier by Senators Pete Domenici, Ted Kennedy, Mike Enzi and 18 other senators. The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S 558), which aims to end discriminatory treatment towards persons with mental illness. This legislation would expand an existing federal law and require employers and health plans to end insurance coverage limitations for mental health conditions that do not apply to other medical conditions. Action Required It is vitally important that strong and immediate bipartisan support be demonstrated for this legislation. Mental Health America supports the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 and urges you to contact your senators today and ask for their support and co-sponsorship. Why is this bill important? Enacting this legislation is a crucial step toward improved access to care, but it is also a step toward realizing the broader goal of addressing mental illness with the same urgency and priority as we attach to other chronic illnesses.

  • Mental health is fundamental to overall health, and mental disorders are readily diagnosable and treatable.
  • There is no justification for a health plan to impose limits or conditions on coverage that do not apply to all other illnesses.
  • Discriminatory insurance practices can be devastating to individuals and families as well as to businesses and communities, ranging from increased disability to job loss and reduced productivity, and tragically even to loss of life. For more information on mental health parity please click at the link.

Those senators cosponsoring S. 558 at the time of bill introduction are: Sen. Akaka, Daniel K. [HI] Sen. Biden, Joseph R., Jr. [DE] Sen. Boxer, Barbara [CA] Sen. Brown, Sherrod [OH] Sen. Cantwell, Maria [WA] Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] Sen. Coleman, Norm [MN] Sen. Collins, Susan M. [ME] Sen. Enzi, Michael B. [WY] Sen. Feingold, Russell D. [WI] Sen. Graham, Lindsey [SC] Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] Sen. Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] Sen. Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [AK] Sen. Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] Sen. Roberts, Pat [KS] Sen. Smith, Gordon H. [OR] Sen. Snowe, Olympia J. [ME] Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [MI] Sen. Warner, John [VA] If your senator is not already a co-sponsor of S. 558, please ask for their support and co-sponsorship of mental health parity.”

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