ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick issued the following statement on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization and a leader in the mental parity movement.
NAMI applauds and thanks President Obama and Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for issuing today the final regulations that define parity under federal law, requiring insurers to provide mental health care benefits on the same terms that they cover physical illnesses.
The regulations are a crowning achievement. They are the result of a 20-year bipartisan campaign by individuals and families affected by mental illness to end unfair discrimination that led to enactment of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008. They are essential to implementation of what is now the law of the land.
We also thank President George W. Bush and all members of Congress who played a role over the years leading to this moment. All Americans can applaud when our leaders, regardless of party, come together to move the nation forward on issues of this magnitude.
NAMI will prepare a more detailed analysis of the final regulations after close examination. There is still disappointment: the regulations will cover about 85 percent of the nation's population, but gaps in coverage exist. The regulations do not apply to managed care plans through Medicaid or the equally vital Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Some of our most vulnerable people are still being left behind.
There is still a challenging road ahead. NAMI will continue working to ensure vigorous implementation and enforcement and to build on a still rapidly evolving, integrated health care system.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.
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