Pelosi: Passage of Mental Health Parity Bill Gives Hope and Help to Millions of American Families

Sep 23, 2008
Press Release

Contact:Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement this evening in strong support of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which just passed the House by a vote of 376 to 47:

"Today, the vote by the House this evening has given hope and help to the millions of American families dealing with mental illness and addiction. This significant accomplishment will help ensure that those suffering can receive the often lifesaving treatment they need.

"This long-overdue legislation has brought mental illness and addiction out of the shadows and to the forefront of our work here in Congress. By requiring that illness in the brain be treated just like illness anywhere else in the body for insurance purposes, we are helping to end discrimination against those who seek treatment for mental illness and saving lives.

"Untreated mental illness results in 1.3 billion lost days of work or school in our country every year. Yet bipartisan and independent research shows there is no significant cost to insuring mental illness like any other medical disease. With this legislation, we are making an investment in the strength and productivity of our nation. This will also benefit some of our returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who later become employed in the private sector. For those brave men and women who served in the National Guard and the Reserves, but don't receive VA care for their entire lifetime, this will help ensure they receive treatment if they ever struggle with mental illness.

"I salute my colleagues for helping to ensure that individuals with mental health illnesses and addictions are given the attention, treatment, and resources they need to live a healthy life. I urge the Senate and the President to enact this essential legislation into law without delay."