TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Chair of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the Congressional field hearing, held in Trenton, on mental health and addiction parity for health insurers:
“I commend Congressmen Frank Pallone, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, and Patrick Kennedy for coming to Trenton today to discuss the need for health insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse under the same terms and conditions they use to provide coverage for other diseases.
“Congressmen Pallone and Kennedy have long been champions of the health insurance industry living up to the obligations it has towards its customers.
“Mental health and addiction services parity has to happen, not just in New Jersey, but on the national level, so that we can provide a seamless health care safety net for those in need. Studies have long illustrated that mental health and substance abuse are diseases, and if we’re ever going to abandon the stigma of these illnesses and treat the people afflicted, health insurers from California to New Jersey need to step up to the plate.
“I will continue to push the issue on the state level, as we begin to seek a national mental health and substance abuse equity model. If insurers are serious about giving their customers access to the health care they need, they will support efforts to provide equal coverage for mental health and addiction services.”