A mental health parity bill has cleared the Senate after passing the House. Senate sponsor, Steven Tolman, says he hopes it will put an end to calls he gets from substance abusers who are trying to stop...but hit limits on coverage for treatment.
That is unconscienable. We have ripped down the barriers to get services so they are available for those in need.
The Senate version adds eating disorders, substance abuse, autism and post traumatic stress disorder to the list of medical conditions for which members can get unlimited benefits...but keeps some caps on therapy and other services. The House bill lifts those caps. Business groups and health insurers lobbied against the House version. But Massachusetts Association of Health Plans President, Marylou Buyse, does not object to the Senate bill.
We think the Senate took a measured approach. It gives people with serious mental illness the care they need. And gives everyone else generous but reasonable limits.
The House Sponsor, Ruth Balser, says she will move to accept the Senate version to make sure that something gets done before the legislature ends formal sessions on July 31st. Balser says, while the Senate bill does not create full mental health parity, it is still an important step forward.
This program aired on July 25, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.