U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., issued a
statement on the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services,
and Treasury issuance of a "final rule implementing the Mental
Health Parity Act of 2008."
The (unedited) content of the statement:
"Issuance of the final rule comes just one day
after Blumenthal chaired a hearing of the "Senate Judiciary Subcommittee
on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency
Action hearing titled “Justice Denied: Rules Delayed on Mental Health
and Auto Safety,” in which he and witnesses highlighted the long delay
of the Mental Health Parity Act rule.
“These rules expanding mental health care are the single most
important step to stem and stop gun violence since the Newtown tragedy.
They move America toward treating mental illness before it leads to
senseless death and injury involving guns.
will also help millions of Americans who are not dangerous but victims
of painful, debilitating, and disabling mental health conditions. Maybe
most important, is the availability of mental
health treatment to our brave, dedicated veterans, who suffer from the
signature invisible wounds of recent wars like PTS and TBI. The
regulations are sadly long overdue, and now must be vigilantly enforced.
They are final regulations, but they are not the
final word. Vigorous and vigilant enforcement are vital, and I pledge close oversight and scrutiny.”
decades, scholars, advocates, and public officials have noted that
delays in the rulemaking process force agencies to rely on less formal
methods – including interim rules – which frequently produce worse
rules and involve a less transparent process. The final rule issued
today implements the Mental Health Parity Act, and ensures that health
plans features like co-pays, deductibles and visit
limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health/substance
abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits.
The rule also includes specific additional consumer protections, such
Ensuring that parity applies to intermediate levels of care received in residential treatment or intensive outpatient settings;
the scope of the transparency required by health plans, including the
disclosure rights of plan participants, to ensure compliance with the
that parity applies to all plan standards, including geographic limits,
facility-type limits and network adequacy; and
the provision that allowed insurance companies to make an exception to
parity requirements for certain benefits based on “clinically
of care,” which clinical experts advised was not necessary and which is
confusing and open to potential abuse."
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