Ranking Member Scott Praises Biden-Harris Administration for Expanding Access to Mental Health Care

WASHINGTONRanking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Biden-Harris administration released a new rule to strengthen mental and physical health parity requirements.

“Access to high-quality mental health care and substance use disorder treatment are essential to our overall health and well-being. Mental illnesses are closely linked to physical health problems, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, while, conversely, chronic physical illnesses can increase the risk of mental illnesses. 

“However, despite multiple bipartisan efforts to improve mental health and physical health care coverage parity, insurers too often make it difficult to access mental health treatment. As a result, millions of Americans seek care out-of-network at significantlyhigher costs and pay out of pocket or defer care altogether.

“I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for taking action to improve mental health care coverage and improve access for more than 150 million Americans. The new rule will require health plans make changes when they are providing inadequate access to mental health care. Moreover, the rule clarifies what health plans can and cannot do and it closes existing loopholes.  The effect of these rules will mean more people will use their mental health care, people will have a better understanding of the coverage they have, and it will likely incentivize more people to join the mental health workforce.

“The President is delivering on his promise to expand access to affordable, quality health care, and I look forward to continuing to build on this work in Congress.”

Background: The Committee on Education and the Workforce has historically championed legislation to secure mental and behavioral health parity, which is the principle that coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services should be equal to coverage for medical and surgical services.  In 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) provided that annual or lifetime dollar limits for mental health could not be more restrictive than those imposed on medical and surgical care. In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) extended parity to financial requirements and treatment limits and applied these protections to substance use disorder treatment. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded parity to the individual market and required new individual and small group plans to cover essential health benefits, including behavioral health care.


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