Tina Smith

United States Senator for Minnesota

Klobuchar, Smith Recognize the Tenth Anniversary of the Enactment of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

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WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) introduced a resolution recognizing the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The MHPAEA ensures that health insurance companies don’t impose less favorable limitations on mental health or substance abuse use disorder benefits than on medical or surgical benefits, and in so doing greatly expanded Americans’ access to treatment for mental illness.

“Paul Wellstone was a crusader, an inspiration and a friend. He was a passionate champion for those suffering from mental illness, always fighting for better care, better services and better representation for patients. In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was enacted and named in his honor, finally bringing mental health parity to health insurance coverage,” Klobuchar said. “With this resolution, we honor Paul’s legacy and this landmark legislation that has changed the lives of millions of Americans living with mental illness who faced unfair discrimination in their access to affordable health care treatment.”

“Throughout his life, Paul Wellstone always stood up for people who were powerless and often forgotten,” Smith said. “His groundbreaking efforts to make life better for those with mental health issues are a major part of his legacy, and his bipartisan work on mental health parity has helped millions of people in Minnesota and across the country get the help they need and deserve. I’m proud to hold his seat, and I’m proud to honor his work with this resolution.”

The bipartisan resolution is cosponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tom Carper (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

 

The full text of the resolution can be found below:

 

Recognizing the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

 

Whereas, on October 3, 2008, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (subtitle B of title V of Public Law 110–343) (referred to in this preamble as the “MHPAEA”) was signed into law;

 

Whereas the MHPAEA ensures that employer-based group health plans and group and individual health insurance issuers that provide mental health or substance use disorder coverage do not impose less favorable limitations on mental health or substance abuse use disorder benefits than on medical or surgical benefits;

 

Whereas parity protections have been found to decrease out-of-pocket costs for mental health and substance use disorder services;

 

Whereas, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2017, 18,200,000 individuals in the United States ages 12 and older needed substance use treatment but did not receive specialty treatment in the past year;

 

Whereas, in the United States in 2017, an estimated 2 out of 5 adults with any mental illness and 1/2 of adults with serious mental illness who had unmet needs for mental health services did not receive treatment because those individuals could not afford the cost of care; and

 

Whereas parity in insurance coverage for behavioral health services consistent with the requirements of the MHPAEA can provide access to life-saving treatment and services:

 

Now, therefore be it Resolved, That the Senate—

 

(1) commemorates October 3, 2018, as the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (subtitle B of title V of Public Law 110–343);

(2) declares access to behavioral health services a priority; and

(3) supports enforcement of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to protect individuals in the United States who are in need of access to insurance coverage for behavioral health services.

 

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Issues: 

Washington, D.C. Office

309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5641
 

State Offices

Moorhead Office
819 Center Avenue
Suite 2A
Moorhead, MN 56560
Phone: (218) 284-8721
 

Duluth Office
515 W 1st Street
Suite 104
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 722-2390
 

State Offices

Saint Paul
60 Plato Blvd. East
Suite 220
Saint Paul, MN 55107
Phone: (651) 221-1016
 

Rochester
1202-1/2 7th Street NW
Suite 213
Rochester, MN  55901
Phone: (507) 288-2003