Wednesday, May 09, 2007

H973, Mental Health Equitable Coverage bill: w/ the Insurance Comm of NC House@11 a.m. May 10, 2007

Here are some talking points re: the importance of this bill. The bill is here:
The Insurance Committee of the NC House info is here:
The bill is on the roster for this committee tomorrow at 11 a.m.:
11:00 AM
Mental Health Equitable Coverage. (H973) 1228LB
Here is the letter I just sent to the committee members. This is the list of the Insurance Committee members in the NC House:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
as compiled by David Cornwall : (Check out daily mental health news updates at David Cornwell - 828-654-8754 - )

Dear Insurance Committee members:
I believe you will be looking at H973, the Mental Health Equitable Coverage bill, at 11 a.m., May 10, 2007. This is a good first step re: creating mental health care parity in NC. I hope you can support this. I would like to play the devil's advocate here, for a moment, and perhaps debunk any issues you might have associated with the passage of this important bill.

Item 1: the public is no longer on the side-lines related to mental health matters. With each mismanagement of mental health reform, providers have become more active and vocal, the activities of NAMI have increased, and consumers are listening to this information as we write more and more letters to the editor.

Item 2: the public considers the legislative arm of government as the keepers of the public's trust (not the employees of DHHS who may, may not listen to the public or to providers). The Millbank quarterly (the place where Hooker Odom is now to work), stated: " The Role of Public Opinion A central tenet of our representative democracy is that elected officials should be responsive to the wishes and desires of the public...."

Item 3: there is a push at the federal level for mental health parity: As Senator Kennedy stated at the federal level where mental health parity is being persued: ""This is a public health crisis that in some way impacts every family in America. It's time to break down the barriers to good mental health and addiction treatment."

Item 4: Insurance costs have decreased as regards utilization of mental health: (from the American Psychological Association, Russ Newman, JD, PhD:
"...the projected costs for putting full federal mental health parity in place have decreased considerably since 1996. When the 1996 law was introduced (prior to its being narrowed to decrease the cost), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated a 4 percent increase in the cost of private health insurance premiums to achieve full parity...."

I believe that any costs will be easily outweighed by benefits associated with employees improved performance and better health. The time is right; the public is behind you. Please pass H973.
Sincerely, Marsha V. Hammond, PhD


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