Social Conditions. Escalating During The Great Recession

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Social Conditions
Escalating during the great recession and the drug epidemic, the rate of the uninsured and citizens with incomplete MH/SUD coverage escalated to cataclysmic proportions. Relatively, the economics of our nation were impacted by millions of American families affected by MH/SUD disorders that reduced their productivity and earnings potential. However, the fear that MH/SUD parity would further impact struggling businesses and increase the total costs of health care played a crucial role in delaying the passage of individual attempts at parity legislation. Naturally, amendments to a true mental health parity act were inspired by Republican opposition who were against government involvement in regulating health insurance. …show more content…

However, once again, the mental health reform efforts failed, inspiring Senator Domenici to team up with Senator Wellstone to introduce a comprehensive parity act in the Senate (S.298) and attempted to attach it with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) legislation (Barry et al., 2010). Regrettably, during house senate negotiations the parity provision of HIPAA was dropped (Barry et al., 2010). Persistently, Domenici and Wellstone introduced a scaled down version of the parity act (S.2031) and successfully attached it to the VA-HUD appropriations legislation, thus the first step towards benefit parity, the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 was signed into law (Barry et al., 2010). Unfortunately, MHPA had very little impact on mental health parity. By 2006 thirty-seven states had their own benefit parity legislation, however, the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) exempted self-insured plans from state parity compliance which negatively affected one-third to one-half of US employees (Barry et al., 2010). For the next nine years, more comprehensive parity laws stalled in Congress, in the interim President Clinton required the FEHBP to implement comprehensive MH/SUD parity by 2001 (Barry et al., 2010). To date, this was the most heroic effort put forth in benefit parity, as it covered all

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