December 19, 2001
AMA to Congress: Pass Mental Health
Help End Discrimination Against Patients Suffering from Mental Illness
- With House and Senate conferees on the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill
expected to vote this evening on the Domenici-Wellstone mental health parity
amendment, the American Medical Association (AMA) today urged Congress to
make the right choice for patients, and help end insurance discrimination
against those suffering from mental illness.
"The Domenici-Wellstone parity amendment would curb practices by the health
insurance industry that discriminate against those suffering from mental
illness by prohibiting health plans from treating mental health benefits
differently from the coverage of medical and surgical benefits," J. Edward
Hill, MD, AMA chair-elect, said. "Failure to pass this amendment would be an
injustice to mental health patients nationwide," Dr. Hill continued.
"For too long, health insurers have gotten away with blatant discrimination
against those suffering from mental illness by demanding higher co-payments
and deductibles, and allowing fewer doctor visits or days in the hospital,"
Dr. Hill said. "By passing this amendment, Congress would curb this
discriminatory and unfair practice by the health insurance industry," Dr.