Leading from the Left

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Important Committee Vote on Equitable Coverage

Tomorrow morning at 11am the Insurance Committee of the State House of Representatives will debate and vote on a critical mental health reform bill. Please contact your legislator and ask him/her to support HB 973 "Mental Health Equitable Coverage." And if you live in her district, please thank Rep. Verla Insko (D-Chapel Hill) for being one of the four primary sponsors of this bill.

HB 973 would require that insurance companies provide equity in insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse. Currently, there is no requirement to do so--some plans do and some plans don't. But mental health and substance abuse are diseases like any other and leaving them untreated leads to loss of work productivity, life expectancy, and so forth. Insurance companies have historically opposed equity legislation, arguing that it will raise costs. But it seems to me that there are significant long-term costs to our communities when mental health disease and substance abuse are left untreated.

It's unclear to me the chances for this bill to pass. The insurance industry has successfully killed similar legislation in past sessions. But this bill is at a critical stage, and your legislator needs to hear from you! Take a few minutes to contact your legislator and ask for him/her to support HB 973, "Mental Health Equitable Coverage."