Parity Update: Sponsors of House Insurance Parity Bill Press House Leaders for Vote – Parliamentary Move Would Force Action By the House
In a seldom used parliamentary move, the lead sponsors of legislation requiring equitable coverage of mental illness treatment this past week filed a "discharge petition" demanding expedited action on the bill. The sponsors of the bill – Representatives Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) – are now working to secure the required 218 signatures on their petition in order to force the bill before the full House. If they are able to achieve 218 signatures before the end of the year (and final adjournment), then a vote on the bill would have to occur.
It is important to note that the Ramstad-Kennedy bill (HR 1402) already has 229 House cosponsors, more than enough public supporters to ensure passage. Thus, in order for this discharge petition to be successful, the sponsors need only to get 218 of the 229 cosponsors to sign on.
Advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their House member and urge them to sign on to the Ramstad-Kennedy discharge petition on HR 1402.
Remind your House members of the simple and powerful message that HR 1402 delivers:
- Mental illnesses are real – just like heart disease, cancer and diabetes,
- Treatment for mental illness works – if you can get it – and
- There is no justification for health plans to impose discriminatory limits on treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression (caps on inpatient days & outpatient visits, higher cost sharing) that apply do not apply to all other illnesses.
Insurance discrimination is wrong and it must end!!! Now is the time to step up and demand that the House vote on HR 1402 this year.
All House offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121. In addition, with the mid-term election now in full swing, advocates are strongly encouraged to reach out to all House members at public appearances they will be making over the next five weeks – candidate forums, radio talk show appearances, parades, county fairs, etc. – to demand support for HR 1402 and the Ramstad-Kennedy discharge petition.