House to Vote on Comprehensive Mental Health Bill

The House of Representatives is expected to vote today on the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, H.R. 1424. The American Psychiatric Association strongly supports comprehensive legislation requiring an end to insurance discrimination against patients requiring treatment for mental illnesses including substance related disorders, and urges the House to pass this bill.

Mental illnesses can and do have a devastating impact on millions of Americans every day. Unfortunately, most American health insurance coverage does not cover the care our patients need at a level comparable to coverage for other health conditions.  People with mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety or substance use disorders, are discriminated against when they are required to pay higher co-payments, allowed fewer doctor visits or days in the hospital, or made to pay higher deductibles than those that apply to other medical illnesses.

Legislation ending this discrimination is long overdue. Over the last eight years, the Federal Employees Health Benefit program has made “parity