MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: Advocates Optimistic Of Davis Approval
Advocates of a mental health parity bill that was recently vetoed by Gov. Pete Wilson, are reloading their guns for another attempt, this time with Gov.-elect Gray Davis, who is considered to be more receptive to the idea. The Ventura County Star reports that following "a two year legislative battle," which culminated in AB 1100's 54-16 passage in the Assembly and a 26-9 one in the state Senate, Wilson vetoed the measure on the grounds that it posed a risk of increasing insurance premiums. The bill's backers, however, said the chance the bill would raise premiums was "only minimal." Not only are activists confident that Davis would sign a similar bill -- as he indicated in his campaign -- but "they are confident they can get an even broader parity bill approved." Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Davis), who sponsored the original bill, "is preparing to introduce a similar bill that omits concessions made in an attempt to appease Wilson." Nancy Chavez, Thomson's legislative consultant, said, "The bill is going to be introduced in a broader form than AB 1100's final form." Possibilities include adding autism and emotionally troubled children to the list of conditions that the original bill proposed covering. Lori Holman, president of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, said, "Last year it was like, 'This is all we can get. It's better than nothing.' Now we think we can do better than that. The mood ... is so positive right now that I think we can push the envelope and get a better bill. Now I don't think we're going to have to make as big a compromise" (Sprengelmeyer, 11/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.