IN SUPPORT OF MENTAL HEALTH PARITY
WHEREAS, mental health and addiction treatment is something that has touched virtually everyone. Everyone has a family member, friend or co-worker who has been affected by mental illness and/or addiction; and
WHEREAS, mayors know from experience that improving mental health and addiction benefits improves people's lives and reduces health care costs by avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations, controlling chronic physical diseases and reducing emergency room visits, improves productivity in the workplace, and reduces law enforcement problems; and
WHEREAS, mayors, as chief executives of local governments that are large employers, recognized that treatment for mental illnesses and addiction is effective and it can improve people's lives and that this treatment is cost-effective from an economic standpoint; and
WHEREAS, according to the General Accountability Office, nearly 90 percent of health plans impose such financial limitations and treatment restrictions on mental health and addiction care despite voluminous scientific research documenting the biological, genetic, and chemical nature of these diseases, and the effectiveness of treatment; and
WHEREAS, equal benefits are in the interest of cities' public health, education, law enforcement and social services needs,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges that mental health and addiction benefits be equalized with other health care benefits; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act sponsored by Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Congressman Jim Ramstad and urges Congress to pass this legislation.