AMA lauds action on mental health coverage

In early October, the American Medical Association in Chicago issued a statement by board member Jeremy Lazarus, MD, regarding Congressional action on mental health care coverage:

"Today, the U.S. Congress took action to bring vitally important mental health care coverage to the 57 million Americans who struggle daily with a mental illness. Passage of the bill ends more than ten years of gridlock on the issue of mental health parity, and requires that insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders is on par with physical health care coverage for all Americans.

"Health insurers routinely impose more benefit restrictions on mental health services than on physical health services, despite the similarities in cost. Nearly half of all patients with a mental health disorder do not receive needed treatment. Thanks to congressional action, we can bring an end to insurance discrimination against patients with mental health needs."