The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 18, 2013

Other Views: Set rules on health parity

— Nearly five years ago, Congress passed the mental health parity law championed by the passionate Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who fought for equal coverage for mental health treatment the same as for medical and surgical care.

Almost immediately, insurance and employer groups fought against the specifics of implementation just as hard as they fought against the law itself.

Consequently, the Obama administration has slowed down any progress on regulations to a snail’s pace. And even with new studies and re-emerging news reports of the inadequacy of coverage for those with mental illness, the White House says it still needs yet another year to finalize the rules.

This is scandalous.

There apparently is enough willingness to put gun control on the front burner but not enough to assist the welfare of our weakest of citizens.

Sen. Al Franken, sitting in the seat once held by Wellstone, has been pushing the White House to finalize the regulations. “Getting folks with mental illness the care they need is just as critical as getting someone with a broken leg to the emergency room,” Franken said.

Under pressure, the administration released rules regarding parity in insurance plans to be offered through the Affordable Care Act.

This comes nowhere near what providers and insurers need to move forward, which are the detailed rules defining the full scope of services insurers must provide. The White House says it needs more time.

Some things are not in dispute. Under federal law, large employers who offer mental health benefit coverage cannot charge any more than what is being charged for general medical services. Nor can limits be set on treatments any more than limits are placed on the medical care.

But access and enforcement remain in limbo.

If the administration needs to bring in more analysts to hammer out the rules, then do it. And if no compromise can be found between advocates and insurers, make the decision so either side can then work on how it will adjust.

But this continued malingering of governance is prolonging the deplorable state of inequity in health care to those people who need it the most.

The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

1
Text Only
Opinion
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Sports