Addressing Mental Health Disparity

America is facing a mental health crisis. 

Nearly one in five adults struggle with a mental health condition – but only half will receive treatment. More than half of adults ages 18-21 reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. 77% of counties across the country do not have sufficient access to mental health services and qualified mental health professionals.   

Stop the dangerous rule change to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Patients deserve real solutions to the mental health crisis, not red tape and increased costs. 

Now is the time to increase access to quality, affordable care, but a proposed rule change to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) would instead significantly reduce standards and build roadblocks to mental health support. 

MHPAEA was intended to encourage better parity between treating patients with mental and physical health needs, but a proposed rule change under consideration by the Biden administration could be catastrophic. 

What does this mean for patients? 

Reduced access to mental health support through new red tape and a race to the bottom.
A worsened health equity gap, exacerbating the mental health crisis among children, substance use disorder patients and low-income Americans.
Increased costs and risks for patients due to unnecessary care – whether driven by unchecked overutilization or prioritizing higher-level mental health professionals  when not needed.
Patient choice would be extremely limited. Flexible benefit designs allowing patients to choose the right individual approach would be hindered.

The proposed parity rule change would also lower standards for admitting mental health care providers and facilities into networks and lead to more unchecked and even dangerous care. From pill mills that push psychotropic drugs on millions who may not need them to addiction treatment center scams that prey on the most vulnerable, this rule would mean more than higher costs – it would empower bad actors to target at-risk communities for unproven treatments that could harm them. 

 Patients Deserve Real Solutions 

Lawmakers should scrap this potentially catastrophic rule change and, instead: 

  • Address the mental health care provider shortage. 
  • Focus on training primary care physicians to provide integrated physical and mental health care. 
  • Increase telehealth access to high-level clinicians for patients needing acute care.