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December 19,  2001

AMA to Congress: Pass Mental Health Parity

Help End Discrimination Against Patients Suffering from Mental Illness

(SafetyAlerts) - 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. Hill continued.

Source: PRNewswire.

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