Sen. John Kerry: Legislation Would End Mental Health Discrimination in Medicare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today introduced legislation to end discrimination against Medicare patients who suffer from mental illness.

Current Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to receive a total of 190 days of inpatient psychiatric hospital care throughout their lifetimes regardless of their need. This arbitrary cap on benefits discriminates against the mentally ill in that it does not impose a lifetime limit for any other Medicare specialty inpatient hospital service. The Medicare Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act (S. 374) would eliminate this limit and equalize Medicare mental health coverage with private health insurance coverage. The legislation would also expand beneficiaries’ choices for inpatient psychiatric care providers, increase access for the seriously ill, and improve continuity of care.

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Reported by Staff of The State Column

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