Posted Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012
Renew magazine Editor-at-Large Laurie Dhue recently returned from the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where she participated in the Recovery Caucus’ panel discussion of the federal parity law.
The law is based on a simple notion: that health benefits for those with addiction and mental illness must be on par with those afforded to people with other medical conditions. The law requires private health insurance plans to provide equal coverage for mental and physical health services. It took effect Jan. 1, 2010, but federal regulations to actually implement the law have not been finalized.
Other speakers at the caucus included former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Dave Wellstone, son of late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, whose call to action in 2001 paved the way for the law to be passed. Advocates are calling for the Obama Administration to issue a final rule, arguing that parity is not just the right and moral thing to do, it is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Untreated addiction costs this country nearly half a billion dollars a year.
Here’s Laurie’s exclusive interview with Patrick Kennedy.