MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: Mercury News Urges Support
The San Jose Mercury News weighs in today on mental health parity, urging the state Legislature to pass a bill under consideration "without delay." Although then-Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed the mental health parity measure, AB 1100, a "virtually identical bill, AB 88, is working its way through the Legislature," and will be the subject of an upcoming hearing in the Assembly Health Committee. Authored by state Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Vacaville) and co-sponsored by 15 lawmakers of both parties, the editorial says the bill should fare well in Gov. Gray Davis' hands. Noting that AB 88 is "narrowly drawn to omit controversial points," the editorial explains that the sponsors excluded alcohol and drug treatment from coverage because it "would have increased resistance in the Legislature, maybe dooming the whole bill." As it stands, AB 88 covers biologically based mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, panic disorder, autism and obsessive- compulsive disorder. The bill also covers "[p]sychiatric treatment of anorexia, bulimia and certain serious emotional disorders among children." Noting that some insurers oppose the measure because they believe it will drive up insurance premiums, the editorial points to a Rand Corp. study of Ohio employees that found mental health parity increased premiums only $1 per member per month (3/3).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.