Pelavin: Too many Americans are receiving sub-standard care for mental illness because of antiquated and unjust health insurance practices, but this crisis can be rectified with appropriate Congressional action.
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Washington D.C., March 7, 2008: In response to this week's House passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (HR1424), Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“The passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (HR1424) brings renewed hope to advocates for equality in the treatment of physical and mental illness; and, more importantly to the tens of thousands of Americans suffering from mental illness, it brings closer the goal of full mental health parity. We applaud Congress's commitment to moving this legislation and demanding that insurance companies cover mentally ill patients to the same extent that they cover physically ill patients. Too many Americans are receiving sub-standard care for mental illness because of antiquated and unjust health insurance practices, but this problem can be rectified with appropriate Congressional action.
The passage of the House bill and the unanimous passage of companion legislation in the Senate are essential steps toward achieving parity. However, discrepancies between the House and Senate bills remain and our work will not be complete until the leadership in both chambers prioritizes reconciling the differences. We urge a swift conference of the legislation in the hope that Congress will act quickly to craft the strongest possible version of the bill. Obtaining needed care for mental illnesses remains an urgent and serious concern for many Americans. We look forward to the enactment of this bill and the day when Americans faced with mental illnesses face an easier path to a refuat ha-nefesh u'refuat haguf, a healing of the soul and the body."