The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a national group, is imploring the public to oppose S. 1955, legislation that will affect the health care of more than 85 million Americans.
“There is a new harmful piece of legislation that will be swiftly moving through the Senate in early May,” says DBSA staff. “The Health Insurance Modernization and Affordability Act (S. 1955) would defeat years of hard work by individual states to ensure that patients have adequate mental health care coverage.”
According to the DBSA this legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) was intended to address the health care of millions of uninsured Americans.
S. 1955 will pre-empt existing state insurance laws, in effect, repealing state laws that have been enacted to ensure that consumers have access to adequate mental health benefits.
This includes hard fought mental health insurance parity laws that many states have already passed, according to DBSA literature.
The Senate may consider this legislation in early May.
“One person can make a difference and it could be you,” the DBSA stated in a mass email.
The organization recently released “The State of Depression in America,” a report that is an initiative that includes a video with “60 Minutes'” reporter Mike Wallace, who takes medication for depression and has for years.
In February DBSA issued a press release entitled “Rising Toll of Depression Measured in Disability, Death, and Dollars, Landmark Mental Health Report Finds.” The report makes a number of recommendations to improve the mental health care system and access to care. Depression is the leading cause of disability than other chronic medical conditions like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and lower back pain, according to research.
Of the 35 million Americans age 65 and older, an estimated two million have depression and depression is the principal cause of suicide in the U.S.
DBSA’s plan is to get Congress to equalize Medicare reimbursement coverage to patients for mental health care services and say that private insurers must provide greater incentives for primary care doctors to identify and treat depression.
Many older Americans think that feeling blue is just a part of getting older but DBSA’s research says that’s not necessarily true.
For more information go to DBSAlliance.org.