House passes mental health parity - work still to be done
The House of Representatives passed the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, HR 1424, on March 5! The House-passed measure must now be reconciled with a parity bill already passed by the Senate, S. 558. A final version will have to be approved by both chambers and signed by the President before people living with mental illnesses will finally have the same rights under their insurance plans as individuals with other health conditions.
Write your Senators and Congressmen and urge them to push for enactment of a strong parity bill this year. You can make the difference in delivering that message to your elected officials!You can help by encouraging leaders to set aside differences in the competing versions of these parity bills so that a compromise can be passed in both chambers and sent to the President's desk this year. That’s the message in a letter to the Senate leadership being circulated by Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) that senators are being encouraged to sign TODAY.
Call you local representatives TODAY and ask to speak with the health legislative assistant. Use the message below once you have contacted them. The link below will help you to locate your legislators.
“I’m calling to urge that the Senator sign the ‘Coleman-Wyden letter on mental health parity’ to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders urging negotiation to develop a strong parity bill that can be enacted this year.”
Here are some other important TAKE ACTION NOW issues.
Bush budget slams mental health
The President's proposed FY 2009 budget drastically cuts funding of a wide range of federal programs critical to people with or at risk of mental health problems. On behalf of the most vulnerable, we CANNOT let this happen. Call on Congress to reject the Administration's budget and adopt a budget that makes mental health one of the nation's most urgent priorities. Take Action!
Parity for Medicare co-pays
As the Senate Finance Committee develops a Medicare bill, advocates have a key opportunity to end the Medicare program's discriminatory practice of imposing a much higher co-pay for outpatient mental health services (50 percent instead of the usual 20 percent). This unfair practice has severely restricted access to needed mental health care. Pressure your Senators to repeal the 50 percent mental health co-pay. Take Action!
Go on Record
Over 3000 individuals and 200 organizations have expressed their vision for change by signing onto Mental Health America’s national petition drive. Join us in this effort by telling 10 friends, relatives and colleagues. Sign your name!
Tell your story to end the discriminationAre you one of countless Americans who have experienced insurance discrimination that prevented you from receiving the mental health treatment you need to live a full, productive life? If so, please lend your voice to the millions of Americans working to end mental health insurance discrimination. Tell your story!
Get involved today and let your voice be heard.