CHA News Article

Senate HELP Committee Holds First Mental Health Hearing Since 2007

The U.S. Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee held its first hearing today on the state of America’s mental health system since 2007. The hearing focused on barriers to behavioral health care, including cost and access. The committee heard testimony on the importance of early intervention in diagnosing behavioral health issues and the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act as it expands coverage and strengthens primary care. During the hearing, senators repeatedly questioned Pamela Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about the status of a final rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which mandates that all diseases, including mental illness and addictions, receive the same coverage and benefits. Hyde indicated the rule is currently being developed but could not give a firm date for its release.