KENNEDY CONTINUES PARITY PUSH
Washington, DC – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today continued his efforts to strengthen insurance coverage for mental illness, as Democrats vowed to push Kennedy’s parity proposal when the House and Senate conference on mental health.
The renewed push came at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, held this morning in response to legislation offered by Congressman Kennedy to step up enforcement of existing parity regulations and increase transparency for consumers seeking insurance coverage for mental illness.
“Until or unless we make good on the promise of insurance parity, access to critical care will remain out of reach for millions of Americans struggling with mental illness. No matter how many resources we invest in the full continuum of care, failure to guarantee basic insurance coverage will put that care out of reach for the majority of patients in need. As Congress continues to seek compromise on meaningful mental health reform, any legislation that ignores parity enforcement will fall woefully short.”
Kennedy’s parity legislation, the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act of 2015, is supported by the following organizations: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/SPAN USA, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Bazelon, Community Catalyst, Eating Disorders Coalition, The Emily Program, Kennedy Forum, Legal Action Center, National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, NAMI, National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, National Disability Rights Network, Massachusetts Medical Society, Parity Implementation Coalition.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Since being elected, Congressman Kennedy has been a vocal advocate for systemic reform of the mental health system and needed investment in the full continuum of care. He has focused on enforcement of mental health parity laws, expanded access to substance abuse treatment, and an improved reimbursement system for providers. In addition to his parity legislation Kennedy has introduced a Medicaid Bump to enhance the federal match for new, state-based mental health spending and the Fair Care for Kids Act to remove barriers to mental health treatment for children in Medicaid.
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For Immediate Release:
September 9, 2016
Emily Kaufman (617) 332-3333
Dan Black (202) 225-5931
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