Press Statement from Health Care For All’s Executive Director Amy Rosenthal Regarding Release of Senate Mental Health ABC Act 2.0
BOSTON – “Health Care For All (HCFA) applauds the Senate for releasing a bill that will improve access to mental health care for individuals and families across the Commonwealth. While Massachusetts has made great strides in expanding health coverage, many consumers still face barriers to accessing the care they need. This is especially true for behavioral health care. The Senate bill seeks to address these barriers through several levers, including enhancing health insurance coverage and parity provisions, building and diversifying the workforce, addressing the emergency department boarding crisis, and increasing access for especially underserved populations.
“HCFA is particularly appreciative of the inclusion of provisions that strengthen oversight and enforcement of mental health parity laws to ensure that health insurance coverage for mental health and substance use care is equal to coverage for other medical services. The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 also includes language to require coverage for an annual wellness mental health exam and other provisions to promote the integration of behavioral health and primary care, as well as improved protocols aimed at finding inpatient placements for children in crisis sooner. The bill further aims to lay the groundwork to address the historic underinvestment in behavioral health care. The bill has been released in tandem with significant behavioral health investments included in the pending legislation to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“HCFA thanks Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Julian Cyr, Senator Cindy Friedman and Senator Michael Rodrigues for their leadership in advancing legislation focused on addressing barriers to mental health care. We look forward to continuing to work with the legislature to promote policies that ensure coverage and access for all.”