President Bush appears set to back new legislation that will require employers to expand insurance coverage for psychiatric illnesses. Basically, the bill will force employers' insurance plans to treat mental illnesses the exact same way they treat physical diseases in terms of reimbursements and caps on payouts.
Mental health advocates and Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico have been pushing the bill for years. Domenici's son suffers from schizophrenia. The opposition has come from business groups, who are concerned about how much the new required coverage will cost.
This hour, we look at the "mental health parity" legislation. Are mental illnesses finally getting their due recognition? Or could this lead to expensive abuse of the system?
Darrel Regier, Director of research at the American Psychiatric Association
Andrew Sperling, Director for legislative affairs with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Kate Sullivan, Director of health care policy at the U-S Chamber of Commerce
This program aired on April 25, 2002.