New federal actions and recommendations will help consumers get care for substance use disorders and mental illness

Statement of Alice Dembner, Director of Community Catalyst’s Substance Use Disorders program, in response to the report of the federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force

BOSTON – “A federal task force appointed by President Obama, yesterday provided new tools for consumers and state regulators to ensure that the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act is more rigorously implemented and enforced in communities across the nation. This action is particularly timely because of the current epidemic of opioid overdoses and deaths in all our communities.”

“The actions, combined with recommendations to Congress, constitute an important step forward in eliminating discrimination by health insurers toward people with substance use disorders and mental illness that prevents them from getting the care they need. The Task Force adopted many of the recommendations of stakeholders, including Community Catalyst, that make it easier for consumers to get help, for state officials to oversee insurance companies and for insurance companies to understand their obligations.”

“Community Catalyst applauds the President for creating the Task Force and commends the members of the cross-agency Task Force for their collective contribution to advancing parity in the treatment of substance use disorders and mental illness.”

“We look forward to working with this administration, the Congress and the next administration in order to ensure all consumers have unhindered access to care for mental illness and substance use disorders.”

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About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone - especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read or comment on our blog at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org/. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub. 

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