Greetings from Capitol Hill. This is Jeanine Cogan the Policy Director of the EDC. I am excited to give you an update on our legislative progress. As you all know health care is on everyone's minds and the EDC is part of a broad based coalition that works hard toward making sure that mental health is included in health care legislation.
Great news on that front! The three committees in the House with jurisdiction over health care reform - Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor - released joint draft legislative language for health care reform on Friday June 19. The legislation, known as the “Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft", would indeed include mental health services as part of what they are calling the essential benefits package offered by the Health Insurance Exchange.
There is so much good stuff in this 800 page bill (like prohibiting denials based on pre-existing conditions, requiring transparency and disclosure of terms and conditions in "plain language", etc, etc, etc) that I am only highlighting this one point which is so important to many of us!
For a concise summary of the bill go to http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/galleries/policy-file/HouseDraftHealthCareReform-BillSummary.pdf.
In the Senate draft bill definitions of the essential benefits package offered on the exchange would include mental health and substance abuse services as well.
I will keep you posted as new information emerges. In the meantime - we are advocating for the FREED Act and look forward to your involvement in our letter writing campaign and virtual advocacy week that we will launch in August once health care reform slows down and we can get Congress's attention.
That's all for now!