Montana Governor Signs Parity Law

Joins Virginia as First to Enact State Laws in 1999; NAMI Urges Other States to Follow

Apr 19 1999

Arlinton, VA - The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) today thanked Montana Governor Marc Racicot for signing into law a bill to end discrimination in health insurance benefits for persons suffering from severe mental illnesses.

"Montanans should stand proud," declared NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. "The campaign for parity in Montana was distinguished by a community spirit. It stands out as one of the most positive efforts in the nation." Flynn praised the leadership of Senators Mignon Waterman and Bob Keenan and Representative Chase Hibbard in moving Senate Bill 219 through the legislature.

"We thank all the 49 Montana senators and 75 representatives who voted for the legislation," Flynn noted. "We also salute Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana for having the courage to do the right thing for consumers and testifying in support of the legislation. Mental illnesses are biological brain disorders that can be treated successfully. The new law will end discrimination and help approximately 25,000 Montanans get the treatment they deserve."

Montana is the 21st state in the nation to adopt a parity law. Virginia recently adopted a similar measure. NAMI is urging lawmakers in other states such as California, Indiana and New Jersey to do so as well.