President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that his administration is taking steps to improve insurance coverage of mental health treatments. The proposed regulations, which still need public input, would require insurers to assess whether their customers have equal access to medical and mental health benefits and take corrective action if necessary.
Under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, insurers are already mandated to offer the same level of coverage for mental and physical health care. However, the administration and advocates argue that insurers’ policies often limit patient access to mental health services.
Speaking at an event in the East Room, President Biden emphasized the importance of treating mental health on par with physical health. He stated, “I don’t know what the difference between breaking your arm and having a mental breakdown is—it’s health. We must fulfill the promise of true mental health parity for all Americans now.”
“It shouldn’t be this way,” President Biden asserted. “It doesn’t need to be this way.”
By evaluating outcomes, the White House believes that insurers will be motivated to make the necessary adjustments to comply with the law.
President Biden has made tackling the country’s mental health crisis a priority as part of his “unity agenda.” These are issues that he believes can garner bipartisan support in Congress, as he outlined during his 2022 State of the Union address.