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S. HRG. 107-184

ACHIEVING PARITY FOR MENTAL HEALTH

TREATMENT

HEARING

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION,

LABOR, AND PENSIONS
UNITED STATES. SENATE

ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

ON

EXAMINING MENTAL HEALTH AND OUR ONGOING BATTLE TO SEE

THAT THOSE SUFFERING FROM MENTAL ILLNESSES RECEIVE THE
SERVICES THEY NEED AND TO PROVIDE PARITY IN COVERAGE OF
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

JULY 11, 2001

Printed for the use of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

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U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

73-925 CC

WASHINGTON : 2001

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800

Fax: (202) 512–2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402–0001

COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS

EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts, Chairman CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut JUDD GREGG, New Hampshire TOM HARKIN, Iowa

BILL FRIST, ennessee BARBARA A. MIKULSKI, Maryland

MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming JAMES M. JEFFORDS (I), Vermont

TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas JEFF BINGAMAN, New Mexico

JOHN W. WARNER, Virginia PAUL D. WELLSTONE, Minnesota

CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri PATTY MURRAY, Washington

PAT ROBERTS, Kansas JACK REED, Rhode Island

SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine JOHN EDWARDS, North Carolina

JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, New York MIKE DeWINE, Ohio

J. MICHAEL MYERS, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
TOWNSEND LANGE MCNITT, Minority Staff Director

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Senator Domenici

William E. Flynn, III

Lisa Cohen

Henry Harbin, M.D.

Darrel Regier, M.D.

American Association For Geriatric Psychiatry

National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems

Stanford J. Alexander

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Jacqueline

Shannon

American Psychological Association

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ACHIEVING PARITY FOR MENTAL HEALTH

TREATMENT

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2001

U.S. SENATE, COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS,

Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:02 a.m., in room SD-430, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator Kennedy (chairman of the committee) presiding.

Present: Senators Kennedy, Dodd, Wellstone, Murray, Reed, Clinton, Gregg, Frist, Roberts, Collins, and Jeffords.

OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR KENNEDY The CHAIRMAN. We will come to order, if we could, please. This is an extremely important hearing and we have some very significant witnesses and commentators on this issue, and we are looking forward to the hearing very much.

I want to welcome all of you to this hearing on mental health and our ongoing battle to see that those suffering from mental illnesses receive the services they need and to provide parity in coverage of mental health services. I particularly commend Senator Wellstone and Senator Domenici for their longstanding commitment and their leadership, not only in the Congress but nationally, in seeing that all Americans have access to mental health services.

Mental health parity is one of the most important civil rights issues facing the Nation. For too long, persons living with mental disorders have suffered discriminatory treatment from insurers. They have been forced to pay more for the services they need, have faced harsher limitations on treatment, and have been denied access to the best service providers.

The failure to get treatment for a patient can mean years of shattered dreams and unfulfilled potential. Americans with mental illnesses deserve heath and happiness, too, just as those who face physical illnesses.

The 1996 Mental Health Parity Act was a good first step in ending this blatantly unfair treatment, but it did not go far enough. It left too many loopholes and too many opportunities for continued discrimination. Needed new legislation, the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act, will close these loopholes and guarantee equal coverage for both physical and mental illnesses.

Our proposed legislation prohibits group health plans from imposing treatment limitations or financial requirements on the coverage of mental health conditions that do not also apply to physical

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