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Government News
APA's Principles for Health Care Reform for Psychiatry
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 16 page 18-19

This position statement was approved by the APA Assembly in November 2008 and by the Board of Trustees in December 2008. As stated in APA's Operations Manual, "[P]osition statements... define APA official policy on specific subjects." These principles inform APA's advocacy efforts on health reform.

In 2008, federal legislation was passed and signed by the President to provide mental health parity (including substance use parity) in private insurance. In addition, a change in the Medicare 50% copay with an incremental phase-in to 20% has also been enacted. The principles underlying mental health parity and the change in the Medicare 50% copay are part and parcel of what needs to happen in any broad-scale health reform aiming at universal access, quality improvement, and cost control. With nearly 47 million Americans uninsured and 20 million more seriously under-insured for general health care and many millions more for mental health and substance use coverage, there is much to be done in expanding access to effective treatment for large numbers of individuals who can be helped with DSM-IV disorders.

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