Friday I asked you if mental health was going to play a role in the way you voted this November, and coincidentally, I received an email from Barack Obama Saturday letting me know about his stance on mental health parity.
Yeah, I know, I didn’t really get an email from Barack Obama, but after I sent an email to the candidates (thanks to a Mental Health America campaign), at least one of Obama’s people took the time to let me know about his stance on mental health parity.
Anyway, I thought I’d share the email with you lovely readers:
Thank you for contacting me about mental health and the treatment of mental illness. As you may know, mental illness affects approximately one in five American families, and we must do more address this issue. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that untreated mental illnesses cost the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, I worked to improve mental health services for people with serious problems who are going untreated and undiagnosed.
It is important to end discrimination against those with mental illness, and that’s why I support the bipartisan Paul Wellstone (D-MN) Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, an updated version of legislation that Senator Wellstone championed for over a decade in Congress. This bill works to end discrimination against people suffering from mental illness and addiction.
I also support mental health parity. When suicide is responsible for more deaths in America than AIDS and homicides combined, we must act. That’s why I have championed efforts to improve awareness of mental illnesses and provide timely and appropriate treatment, and why I cosponsored the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007. Parity means that we don’t allow group health plans to impose treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical or surgical services. The bill closes the loopholes that allow discrimination in coverage that does not apply to other illnesses.
I’m proud of my record on this issue. I helped pass mental a health [sic] parity bill as an Illinois state senator that requires coverage for serious mental illnesses to be provided on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to other illnesses and diseases.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue.
So, there you have it.
I haven’t yet received a response from John McCain (and I doubt I will; the moment I sent the email to Barack Obama, I received an email letting me know they received my email and would respond when they could, but I didn’t receive such a confirmation or promise from McCain’s people), but you can read McCain’s Mental Health Statement, which was his response to the questionnaire the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) sent all candidates a while back.
I was much more pleased with the contents of Obama’s email than I was the contents of McCain’s Mental Health Statement. Actually, McCain’s Mental Health Statement ticked me off a little bit. But, more on that later.
In the meantime, what do you all think of what Barack Obama (or, Barack Obama’s people) had to say in his email?