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Tags: mentalhealth | insurance | lobbyists

Dems Push for Mental Health Coverage, Insurance Lobbyists Rally for Fight

Dems Push for Mental Health Coverage, Insurance Lobbyists Rally for Fight

(Edgars Sermulis | Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Sunday, 13 February 2022 08:45 AM EST

With prospects for a massive social spending and climate change bill uncertain, Democrats are turning their attention to mental health and addiction and insurers who routinely reject paying for care.

A Jan. 25 report from the Department of Labor highlighted the issue of insurers who regularly refuse to cover mental such claims — or make it difficult for patients to get care.

But the insurance industry is lining up against a pair of bills, including tougher enforcement such as stiff fines, Politico reported Sunday.

“When you have an access problem that is as complicated and multifaceted as mental health care, it would be wonderful if we could find a single silver bullet solution that would solve it,” Kristine Grow, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, told Politico. “But that’s just not the reality.”

House and Senate committees will hold two hearings this week, Politico reported.

“These big insurance companies try to find every way they can to ratchet down coverage,” Senate Finance Committee chair Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told the news outlet. “This is a very profitable industry and so many people feel like they’re not getting much for their money other than a lot of jazz at the other end of the phone.”

Insurers are pushing back, with AHIP writing a letter to Congress that they’ve tried to comply with a complex law and Congress shouldn’t slap fines on them.

“Congress should delay additional legislation related to [mental health parity] enforcement,” the group said in a letter to Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, Politico reported.

Democrats are digging in.

“As soon as I realized that [West Virginia GOP Sen.] Joe Manchin had drawn a line in the sand [on Build Back Better] and was going no further, and even more so recently when he said, ‘It’s dead,’ I knew we needed to think about what are our next priorities,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., told Politico. “And mental health is always a good one to focus on. That’s one of the areas I really believe we can get a lot of bipartisan support.”

Cornyn, who will write the “access to care” portion of the mental health package for the Senate Finance Committee, told Politico that “mental health is, obviously, part of your overall health.”

“If there are existing laws that require [parity], it seems to me that we have an enforcement issue,” he said.

Fran Beyer

Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Politics
With prospects for a massive social spending and climate change bill uncertain, Democrats are turning their attention to mental health and addiction and insurers who routinely reject paying for care.
mentalhealth, insurance, lobbyists
397
2022-45-13
Sunday, 13 February 2022 08:45 AM
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