Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on U.S. National Health Insurance Legislation

Today, I must give a hat tip to H. L. Doherty at Autism Reality NB for emailing me about a post that John W. Lloyd just wrote at EBD blog. The email was quite helpful because yesterday I wrote a post about the U.S. 'system', (available therapies, legislation, schooling in the U.S,. etc) but did not mention National (U.S.) efforts to pass legislation that will require health insurance companies to cover mental health therapies and services. Here is the excerpt of John's most timely post (especially in terms of this blog!):

"According to a correspondent, negotiators for the US House and Senate are near or have reached a compromise that reconciles H.R. 1424 (”No Discrimination in Health Insurance Act of 2008″) and S. 558 (”Mental Health Parity Act of 2007″). These two bills are different versions of similar legislation that will require private health insurance plans to cover mental health (and other) services, just as they cover other conditions. This is, excuse me, HUGE for families of children and youths with emotional and behavioral disorders."

Further, John noted that the U.S. House version of the legislation is titled "The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act." Paul Wellstone was a U.S. Senator from Minnesota who died in a plane crash in 2002 along with his wife and daughter. His sons David and Mark co-chair Wellstone Action nonprofit advocacy group.

My thoughts: Yes, the passage of such an Act would be huge for families. I hope to soon read a lot more about this proposed legislation! I just hope our President will approve the Act if it is indeed passed through the House and the Senate. It would be heartbreaking if an Executive veto puts an end to our hopes. We will just have to wait and see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes - the bill makes it back into the news! I don't really get the legislative system, but I guess that both versions were passed, and now they're combined and ready to be passed again (or something like that). And I guess the budget's an issue that needs to be dealt with before this happens.
The day you posted this was actually the call-in day to let legislators know that people are really for this bill. I was going to forward the info to you to forward to CMASA, but I couldn't find it presented in a way that I understood, and I wanted to make sure I understood something before sending it out. Anyway, the bill covers all diagnoses in the DSM-IV, so it has me pretty excited for other reasons as well. If anyone's interested, with a bit of searching, you can find the language of the bills at http://thomas.loc.gov/.

-Morgan