[Vision2020] FW: US Senate Considers Parity Bill Beginning May 13 -- TODAY

Saundra Lund sslund@adelphia.net
Thu, 13 May 2004 11:01:49 -0700


For those concerned about the LACK of mental health parity (which would
require equal coverage of mental health benefits for health insurance
coverage unless comparable limitations are imposed on medical and surgical
benefits) in this country, I ***urge*** you to make time TODAY to call
Senators Craig and Crapo to ask that they support the Paul Wellstone Mental
Health Parity Act (SB 486) and vote *against* the Gregg cost amendment.

I don't typically forward things to this forum, but this is an issue I feel
strongly about.  Hubert Horatio Humphrey once said, "The moral test of
government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life -- the
children; those who are in the twilight of life -- the aged; and those who
are in the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
>From personal experience, I can tell you that with respect to mental health,
our children and those who are ill have been getting the short end of the
stick for far too long.

Federal mental health parity would be a *huge* long overdue stride towards
addressing some of this country's shameful issues regarding mental health
access in this country.

Not surprisingly, neither Senator Craig nor Crapo are on the list of
Republican co-sponsors of the Wellstone bill  :-(  I like to think it's
simply because they are just plain ignorant about the matter and calls from
"home" will make them understand the importance of this issue.

I'm terribly sorry for the short notice, but I just today received
notification of today's debate.  Please take time to make the calls TODAY
(there's a toll-free number in the message below) if you support Mental
Health Parity.

Saundra Lund
Moscow, ID

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do
-Edmund Burke

-----Original Message-----
From: cabf@bpkids.org [mailto:cabf@bpkids.org] 
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 9:53 AM
To: CABF Mailing List Subscriber
Subject: Senate Considers Parity Bill Beginning May 13 Urge

Dear CABF Member:

The Senate is scheduled to debate the Paul Wellstone Mental Health Parity
Act, S. 486, sponsored by Sens. Domenici (R-NM) and Kennedy (D-MA) this

Sen. Gregg (R-NH) is expected to offer a cost-exemption amendment which
would exempt group health plans from providing equal coverage for mental
health care if they can prove that costs would increase by a certain

CABF SUPPORTS S.486 and OPPOSES any cost-exemption amendments.

Please call your senators' offices today and the Republican cosponsors of S.
486 to request a vote for S. 486 and against the Gregg cost amendment. Due
to time considerations, telephone calls are preferred to e-mails.

Parity supporters have set up a toll-free telephone hotline to maximize
support for the bill. You may call 1-866-parity4 (1-866-727-4894) to reach
all senate offices in Washington.

In addition to your own state's senators, please call the Republican
co-sponsors with your message.

The list of Republican co-sponsors by state includes:
Sen. Campbell (R-CO)
Sen. Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Fitzgerald (R-IL)
Sen. Lugar (R-IN)
Sen. Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Snowe (R-ME)
Sen. Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Coleman (R-MN)
Sen. Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Burns (R-MT)
Sen. DeWine (R-OH)
Sen. Smith (R-OR)
Sen. Specter (R-PA)
Sen. Chafee (R-RI)
Sen. Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Warner (R-VA)
Sen. Thomas (R-WY).

Here is a sample message:

I am the parent of a child with bipolar disorder from (name your state) and
I am calling to ask the senator to vote for the Paul Wellstone Mental Health
Parity Act, S. 486, and against the Gregg cost exemption amendment. This
legislation will help children and their families gain access to treatment
for mental illnesses. Parity is a fair and affordable solution that will
save lives and families. Families need parity, and need it this year.

Some reasons you can give for supporting parity:

- Mental illness is the second leading cause of disability and premature
death in the U.S.

- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost to employers of
implementing parity will be less than 1% of annual premiums.

- An estimated 14 million children and adolescents aged 9-17 have a mental
illness at any one time and fewer than one in five of this number receive
treatment (Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental
Health, 2001). The barriers to treatment are the lack of affordability, the
shortage of children's mental health professionals and stigma.

The advocacy team may be reached at advocacy@bpkids.org.