Mental Health in America: A Report Card
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has spent more than 30 years speaking out for a greater understanding of mental health issues. She joined WebMD Live, along with The Carter Center's mental health program director, Thomas Bornemann, EdD, on May 25, 2005 to discuss the state of mental health care and the efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness in America.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
There is legislation before Congress to require insurance companies to cover mental illnesses on a par with other illnesses. We have tried very hard to get that legislation passed over a period of at least four years. I think that if everybody who is reading the answers to these questions would write their Congresspeople -- both Senate and House -- and ask them to vote for parity, it would be the best possible thing that could happen to help people with mental illnesses. We have enough votes to pass in the House and in the Senate, but we have not been able to get it out of committee; the Republican leadership is holding it up. I even called President Bush about it a couple of years ago and he told me that he would help get it passed, but it's still languishing.
Some states require insurance companies to provide mental health coverage, but there's no uniformity at all. Most of the time, what the insurance companies will cover, or what these laws require, is very narrow -- for very serious mental illnesses only. The bill before Congress, the national bill, will cover a broader range of mental illnesses, which is what the mental health field wants.
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