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Statement from the CEO Alliance on Biden Administration’s Push to Improve Parity

July 26, 2023 – 3 min read

By CEO Alliance for Mental Health

White House on a blue sky day

The CEO Alliance for Mental Health (CEO Alliance), a group of the leading organizations in the United States dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental health and substance use conditions, applauds President Biden for continuing to prioritize mental health and substance use parity with today’s release of proposed rules to improve health plan compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).

MHPAEA requires that health plans provide mental health and substance use coverage at parity with medical/surgical coverage. The legislation was authored by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, the founder of The Kennedy Forum (a CEO Alliance member organization), and championed by many members of the CEO Alliance. Unfortunately, 15 years after its enactment, the promise of MHPAEA has not been fully realized, and far too many individuals still do not receive the appropriate level of care for their conditions.

The primary goal for each organization in the CEO Alliance is to help people realize their full potential and save lives. The Biden Administration’s new proposal would significantly strengthen our nation’s parity enforcement and ensure that people with mental health and substance use conditions do not face arbitrary barriers to receiving the care they need and deserve. Data consistently show that more than half of adults with mental illness do not receive treatment in a given year, and in 2021, 94 percent of people with a substance use disorder (aged 12 and older) did not receive treatment. Without access to needed care, our nation loses far too many lives to suicide and overdose, often due to undiagnosed or untreated conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use.

The Biden Administration, along with bipartisan leadership in Congress, has made great progress in increasing access to comprehensive mental health and substance use care, including expanding the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, improving crisis services and suicide prevention, and addressing youth mental health. However, more work is needed to ensure everyone can access high-quality care as early as possible, so we thank President Biden for this focus on improving parity.

We are grateful to the Biden Administration for the ongoing focus on behavioral health care and reducing the disparities experienced by people with mental health and substance use conditions. The member organizations of the Alliance look forward to commenting on the proposed rule to strengthen it further and responding to requests for information to ensure enforcement of the provisions that require access to affordable care.

For more information on the CEO Alliance, visit us here.

The members of the CEO Alliance for Mental Health are the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Robert Gebbia, CEO); American Psychiatric Association (Saul Levin, MD, MPA, FRCP-E, CEO & Medical Director); American Psychological Association (Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD, CEO & Executive Vice President); Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (Danna Mauch, PhD, President & CEO); Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (Andy Keller, PhD, President & CEO); Mental Health America (Schroeder Stribling, MSW, President & CEO); National Alliance on Mental Illness (Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO); National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (Shawn Coughlin, President & CEO); National Association of Social Workers (Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C, CEO); National Council for Mental Wellbeing (Charles Ingoglia, MSW, President & CEO); One Mind (Garen Staglin, Chairman, and Brandon Staglin, President); Peg’s Foundation (Rick Kellar, MBA, President & CEO);The Kennedy Forum (Rebecca O. Bagley, President & CEO); Treatment Advocacy Center (Lisa Dailey, Executive Director); Steinberg Institute (Karen Larsen, CEO); and Tyler Norris, MDiv (Co-Founder, CEO Alliance for Mental Health).