Mental Health Legislation a Big Step (Sen. Pete Domenici)

I consider this a joyful day. Senate passage of the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 only happened after more than two years of work that involved hundreds of meetings and a lot of cooperation and support on both sides of the aisle. For too long Americans have just accepted and lived with health care policies that have been blatantly unfair to people with mental health problems. We’ve been willing to accept that our insurance policies would offer more coverage for cancer, heart disease or diabetes than they would for mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Our mental health parity bill would end that discrimination. It’s a simple matter of fairness. Our bill would say that group insurance plans must offer the same coverage for schizophrenia as they do for heart disease and the like.

Our goal now is to stay on a positive footing and work with our House colleagues to reach an agreement on Mental Health Parity that can be passed and enacted. Senators Kennedy and Enzi have been great partners in this effort, and I fully believe we can get this done.