What Does Tim Kaine Believe About Mental Health Parity?
Answer by Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for VP and senator from Virginia, on Quora:
Despite the fact thatin America are coping with a mental health condition, there has long been a stigma and shame around these issues. Unfortunately, that stigma has made its way into our healthcare system.
Health insurance providers and employers have historically covered mental health and addiction differently than treatment for other medical conditions. As a result, patients face far too many barriers when trying to access the mental health services they need: higher out-of-pocket costs, longer waiting periods, and limited in-network providers in their communities.
In response to this clear discrimination, Congress passed the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Parity Law), which Hillary Clinton co-sponsored. The law requires mental health benefits under individual and group insurance plans to be equal to benefits for other medical conditions. President Obama built upon the Parity Law by requiring that insurance plans offer mental health coverage as an essential health benefit in the Affordable Care Act.
But parity is sadly still not a reality for individuals living with mental illness and addiction today. Unfortunately, these laws are too often ignored or not enforced, and as a result, millions of Americans still get turned away when they need help the most. Patients are twice as likely to be denied coverage by a private insurer for mental health services as they are for general medical care.
Barriers like these are simply unacceptable for anyone seeking treatment for mental health. When it comes to mental health, help should be immediate--and focused on treatment, not judgment.
There's no quick fix to eradicating the stigma in both our country's culture and laws.--including strengthening federal monitoring to make sure insurers are complying and making it easier for patients to file a complaint when their rights are violated.
It's time we make sure every American gets the quality mental health care they need--without shame, without stigma, and without the barriers. That is what Hillary and I intend to do in office. Hillary hason these issues for decades, and she , once and for all.
This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, , and Google+.
- Tim Kaine: What type of vice president might Tim Kaine be? Who does he look to for good examples in the role?
- Medicine and Healthcare: In light of the outbreak of Zika in Florida, are you concerned and what can or is the U.S. government doing to prevent its spread?
- Politics of the United States of America: Why is gun control such a divisive issue in American politics?
-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.