Mental Health America Applauds House, Senate Override
of Medicare Veto
Urges Quick Action on Mental Health Parity Bill
Contact: Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandria, VA. (July 16, 2008)-Mental Health America today applauded Congress' override Tuesday of President Bush's veto of a Medicare bill that would significantly reduce a major barrier to outpatient mental health services for beneficiaries and urged quick action on a mental health parity bill.
"We applaud the members of Congress who voted to override the veto," said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "This bill is major step forward in eliminating discriminatory barriers that limit access to mental health care, with often tragic results. We now urge them to complete work on mental health parity legislation, which would make insurance discrimination against people with mental health conditions unlawful."
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on a policy framework for the mental health parity bill, but have yet to come up with a plan to fund the measure.
The Medicare bill would phase out the current 50 percent coinsurance rate for mental health services to the 20 percent rate beneficiaries now pay for other medical outpatient services. The disparity, which has existed since the inception of Medicare in 1965, is a major barrier to needed services.
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.