Obama Administration to Require
Mental Health Insurance “Parity”


The Obama administration will announce today, according to the New York Times, regulations that will require insurers to offer care for mental health issues as if they are “just like physical illnesses.” The requirements are seen as critical to reducing gun violence by making treatment more available to those with mental illness.

Article →

Of further interest:
Equal Coverage for the Mentally Ill (NY Times Editorial)
Feds boosting mental health access, treatment (CNN Health)

From CNN:

“In a move aimed at boosting mental health treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced new rules that will put teeth in a 2008 mental health equity law.

“The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed by President George W. Bush, requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness…

“On paper, the law made mental health more accessible, but there has been virtually no enforcement of it, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president of the American Psychiatric Association and a Columbia University psychiatrist.

“Up to now, the law has not been complied with,” Lieberman said. “Companies have only sort of adhered to it.”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Hey folks! It’s easy to email the reporters of that NY Times story. Their names in the byline are hyperlinks (Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear). Just click and compose email. Let’s all write to them. I just did. And please share on facebook.

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  2. I sent this to both reporters:

    “Those of us in the very large and fast-growing community of survivors of psychiatry and psychiatric psychotropic drugs are utterly baffled by an article such as the above-referenced that makes no mention of the well-known link between psychiatric treatment and violence, including suicide and murder-suicide. Most school shooters were taking or had been withdrawn from a psychiatric drug of some type, and the State of Connecticut is refusing to release Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s toxicology reports (i.e., what psychiatric drugs he had been taking before the shooting).

    Personally I have known for 14 years that the SSRI class of antidepressant drugs can and do cause some people to become suicidal and/or violent towards others. Untold numbers of people have died in this manner. This is a fact.

    Such adverse reactions, when they occur, typically occur either within the first couple of weeks on the drug, or upon lowering or stopping the dose (i.e., upon or during withdrawal).

    As horrific as this sounds, however, this is only one small part of the truth about the full horror of our so-called “mental health” system. “Treatment” means being labeled as defective and drugged. Psychiatry has and is creating millions of chronic, life-long, drug-dependent mental patients.

    Yes, that’s right – psychiatry is CREATING mental illness, not curing it.

    I can point you to dozens of sources but I will provide here a list of just a few experts, books, and links:

    Dr. David Healy
    World-reknowned psychopharmacologist and author of several books (Let Them Eat Prozac, The Antidepressant Era, Pharmageddon)


    Robert Whitaker
    Investigative journalist, winner of the George Polk Award for medical writing and a National Association of Science Writers Award, also finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an Epidemic” chronicles the ways in which psychiatry causes rather than cures mental illness. But for the short version of Whitaker’s book, this interview is an excellent summary of the utterly staggering facts and statistics that he has assembled:


    Mad in America
    Website by and for the growing numbers of people harmed by psychiatry. Of interest might be the fact that the White House refuses to act on a petition seeking an investigation into psychiatric drugs and violence (although the information is already out there – the President simply needs to request his aids to go get it and show it to him!)


    And —
    SSRI Stories

    Please join the right side of this overwhelmingly important issue, and please use your writing talents to spread the message contained in Robert Whitaker’s book: Psychiatric treatment and the so-called “mental health” system are both causes — not cures — of gun violence (and suicide, and many, many other horrors).

    Thank you for your attention.

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    • Hi fluoxetina,

      I agree it is a great response.

      However, I would leave off any links to the Natural News website in the future as in my opinion, it is perceived by many people are far out there and not in the mainstream. Otherwise, great job.

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  3. Nice, well written response!

    Unfortunately the article did not clarify the definition of parity. I think the details, here, are quite important.

    Personally, I have some mixed feelings about this parity thing. For the most part, I see it reinforcing the existing maladaptive system. I dislike that it seems geared towards the typical drug treatment as the ‘standard of care’. On the other hand, maybe it is possible for some people to use parity arguments to gain access to non-coercive therapy and alternative help. Though, I suspect the harm of parity may outweigh the good.

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  4. This comes as no surprise.

    The Pharmaceutical Research and Marketing Association (PhRMA) was a key lobbyist in getting Obamacare passed and signed into law. PhRMA funded the commercials seen in the summer of 2009 to promote the legislation.

    Insurance companies were painted as the villians. Not drugmakers, they were *behind* this act from the beginning.

    And now they will get paid back for helping get the job done.

    Be careful what you ask for…


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    • And, for whatever it’s worth… the Supreme Court of the United States got it wrong. It’s *unconstitutional* for the federal government to force someone to buy health insurance. Period.

      Some states have a few people who’ve been able to sign up… to work their way through the broken website.

      What a joke.


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      • Duane,

        I understand what you’re saying and to be honest, I am not totally comfortable with forcing someone to buy insurance. But at the risk of sounding selfish, the problem is if you don’t spread the risk among a huge group of people, folks like who are older and have health issues are going to be royally screwed big time.

        Personally, as one who doesn’t have health insurance, I preferred single payer system. But we all know what the chances were of that happening? Slim and none.

        Anyway, back on topic. Like Tom Jones, I have mixed emotions about this.

        For example, for the person who is using a psychiatrist to get off of psych meds, it will be nice that they will get the same reimbursement as someone seeing a doctor for something like diabetes.

        But I agree with all the concerns previously expressed regarding meds being the treatment of choice.


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        • AA,

          Good points.

          I’m also concerned about older people. This program is going to gut Medicare, which is a program that many seniors count on.

          It’s my understanding, it will cut over half a trillion from Medicare.

          This entire law was rushed through, without any real effort to listen to the ideas of others. It was bad legislation. It is now a bad law.


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          • Yeah, the Medicare issues definitely worry me.

            Well, they certainly didn’t listen to single payer advocates, that is for sure. And they seemed to mostly listen to insurance folks.

            Only time will tell as to the impact. If you remember, there were many concerns about Medicare that didn’t pan out. We’ll see.

            By the way, I am really worried about the rules requiring doctors to subscribe to electronic medical records. As one who received horrible care as the result of stupidly disclosing my psych med history, with this system, it will be impossible to hide it.

            But then again, I will bet even without Obamacare, this was inevitable.

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  5. Duane,

    To be honest, I expected to have a negative reaction when you mentioned this site. But it looks very interesting even though I am Jewish. 🙂 Unfortunately, my concentration is bad right now but when it improves, I will definitely take a look.

    The only thing I take issue with is that living healthy biblical lifestyles keeps costs down. Unfortunately, I got sleep apnea even though I am thin. It had nothing to do with my lifestyle. Just a friendly reminder that you can’t make assumptions.


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    • AA,

      I know you’ve been having difficulty with sleep. I’ve got some health issues of my own (after many surgeries on my intestines, long story… )

      Thanks for your earlier comments about Obamacare. I always appreciate what you have to say; especially the way you say it.

      You challenge me, and help me come out of my comfort zone sometimes, which is good.


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  6. The very government that legitimates the extralegal drone strike and paramilitary killing of foreign as well as US citizens (see Jeremy Scahill’s film “Dirty Wars” for more details) is now declaring that mentally ill persons are dangerous and violent and therefore preventatively in need of psychotherapeutic treatment? Call me paranoid, call me simplistic, but I always thought it was (legally bought and/or distributed) guns that usually killed people. And of course let’s not forget all those millions of persons the government keeps training at home and abroad to kill people. Gee I am a psychotherapist myself, but I really don’t think that more psychotherapists (or more precisely, more insurance billings by psychotherapists) are the solution to this conundrum.

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