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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Impending rules will guide equality for mental health

By Kelly Kennedy
USA Today
Originally published February 6, 2013

Regulations to be issued this month on the type of mental health coverage insurers must provide under the 2010 health care law may elevate mental illness to the status it needs, mental health experts say.

"Mental health solutions aren't likely to have an impact on this kind of violence," said Jennifer Mathis, deputy legal director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. "But we have a broken mental health system, and this is an opportunity to rectify that. You take your opportunities where they are."

Since the shooting of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., President Obama has signed several executive actions designed to identify and help those with mental illness.
He has called for a discussion about mental health and has vowed to issue final rules this month that extend mental health parity to everyone who has health insurance under the health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

Those regulations would go into effect in January, and though the specifics of those rules are unknown, advocates have clear ideas of what they'd like to see parity look like.

"In a broad-speaking way, we want to see parity be about what outcomes are, not specific tit-for-tat," said Debbie Plotnick, senior director of state policy at Mental Health America, a non-profit group that promotes mental wellness.

The entire story is here.

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