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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2010): Mental health services - overseas

Part of the union

T. Sheldon

Mental Health Today, Nov. 2010, p. 12-14

This article recounts how the Dutch Mental Health Clients' Union has influenced mental health policy since its launch in 1976 and how it continues to evolve and campaign for change.

A political history of federal mental health and addiction insurance parity

C.L. Barry, H.A. Huskamp and H.H. Goldman

Milbank Quarterly, vol.88, 2010, p. 404-433

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act 2008 aims to create 'parity' by eliminating historical differences in group health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse benefits and medical/surgical benefits. This article reviews the political history of efforts to enact comprehensive federal parity. Three factors critical to the passage of the law after years of political deadlock are identified. First, the development of new research evidence regarding the costs of parity was instrumental in allaying concerns among employer and insurance groups and policymakers about its cost impact. Second, the willingness of members of Congress to cast the issue in terms of their own and family members' experiences with mental illness and addiction was crucial. Third, the passage of parity can be credited to shrewd political strategies adopted by members of Congress championing the issue in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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