Years after law, former congressman continues mental health coverage parity battle
Published on April 2, 2013 at 3:01 AM
Despite a mental health parity law passed in 2008, one of the measure's key backers -- former Congressman Patrick Kennedy -- continues the fight for equal coverage of mental illness and is meeting mixed success.
WBUR: CommonHealth: Kennedy Calling For Equal Coverage Of Mental Health -- Yes, Still
Mental health "parity" is officially a done deal. Congress passed a law back in 2008 requiring health insurers to treat mental health on a par with physical health, covering care for mental illness and addiction no less than they cover physical care. Many states have also passed their own mental health parity laws. So why has former Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island -- lead sponsor of the 2008 bill together with his late father, Sen. Ted Kennedy -- spent much of the last couple of years criss-crossing the country to advocate for mental health parity? (3/29).
In Texas, mental health funding faces a tough road ahead after budget gaps appear --
The Associated Press: Texas Mental Health Funding Leaves Gaps
Standing in a courtyard by the state Capitol, Sen. Judith Zaffirini reached out to touch the Mental Health Bell, forged in the 1950s from chains once used to shackle asylum patients, brought to Texas this year on display as a 300-pound symbol of hope. … But while advocates for the mentally ill roundly cheer their gains, it is becoming clear the money will go only so far. Lawmakers are scrambling to repair a patchwork system spread among community centers, state agencies and all levels of the criminal justice system (Brick, 3/30).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.