Washington, D.C. – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today joined with her House colleagues in passing H.R. 1424, The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act, which will help end discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses. The legislation, named after the late Senator Paul Wellstone, ensures that group health plans do not charge higher co-payments, coinsurance, deductibles, or impose maximum out-of-pocket, and lower day and visit limits on mental health and addiction care than for medical and surgical benefits.
The bill does not mandate that group health plans add mental health coverage, it only applies to health plans that choose to offer mental health coverage. The mental health parity requirements apply to group health plans with 51 or more employees. Also, the bill would not supersede any state law that provides consumer protections, benefits, rights, or remedies stronger than those in this bill.
“The time has come for Americans to receive the same mental health coverage that their representatives in Congress and federal employees receive,” noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “This bill is a common sense measure that will help expand access to much needed mental health treatment.”
The bill is supported by a long list of groups, including the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Social Workers, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her seventh term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. She also Chairs the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.