Major Employers Group Launches Ad Campaign Opposing Proposed Changes to U.S. Mental Health Care Policy

Washington, D.C., April 22, 2024 – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), a national trade association exclusively representing the largest employers in the United States in their capacity as sponsors of employee benefit plans for their nationwide workforces, launched a TV and digital ad campaign today detailing the potential negative implications of federal rule changes to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA).

Some departments of President Biden’s administration, including the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL) and the Treasury are finalizing proposed rule changes regarding mental health and substance use disorder parity. 

There are 50 million Americans experiencing a mental illness, but nearly half of our country’s population lives in a mental health workforce shortage area. According to ERIC, the proposed changes could further exacerbate reduced access to high-quality providers and lead to significant negative changes to benefit design, including the possibility that employers could drop mental health care coverage altogether, which they currently provide voluntarily. 

“Our government and health care industry leaders absolutely need to work together to increase access to quality mental health care for all Americans, but these proposed changes could have unintentional yet catastrophic impacts on the progress that has already been made,” said Melissa Bartlett, ERIC’s Senior Vice President of Health Policy. “There are numerous, proven initiatives to improve access to care: expanding telehealth services, integrating mental health training for primary care providers, and incentivizing more medical students to enter this field.”

Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) laid out additional concerns regarding the rule change in a recent op-ed:, “Mental health is an issue our entire nation is currently confronting, and we must take a multifaceted approach to address the growing problem. I appreciate the Biden administration’s commitment to improving access to care, but we must also ensure we’re going through the appropriate channels, working with field experts to ensure that the right steps are being taken. We cannot afford to govern through rule changes.”

Constance Garner, former policy director at the Senate HELP Committee who helped draft the MHPAEA, shared similar concerns, “This proposed rule would lower the quality standards for mental health professionals to join an insurance network while also pushing more patients or their caretakers to choose a higher-level mental health professional for even more mild symptoms that could be treated by a primary care physician. Simple supply and demand principles would dictate that this will lead to higher costs and exacerbate an already dangerous shortage of mental health professionals.”

The ad campaign will be running on cable news television, streaming channels and various digital platforms.  


All media inquiries to The ERISA Industry Committee should be directed to

About The ERISA Industry Committee
ERIC is a national advocacy organization that exclusively represents large employers that provide health, retirement, paid leave, and other benefits to their nationwide workforces. With member companies that are leaders in every sector of the economy, ERIC advocates on the federal, state, and local levels for policies that promote flexibility and uniformity in the administration of their employee benefit plans.