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Parity Bill Moves Forward Without Addiction Coverage


Parity legislation is moving forward in the U.S. Congress, but the recent measure excludes addiction treatment as part of its coverage, the Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly reported March 25.

U.S. Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.), who has historically been a supporter of addiction treatment parity, sponsored a U.S. House of Representatives companion bill to the Senate's Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2002. The bill contains no provision for covering addiction treatment.

“I have been a longtime supporter of parity for substance abuse. I recognize the political reality that a parity bill including substance abuse is not likely to move forward in the House. Rather, an incremental approach is the only politically viable option. Therefore, I have introduced compromise parity legislation which does not cover substance abuse,” said Roukema.

Instead, the legislation directs the General Accounting Office (GAO) to determine what the cost would be to add addiction treatment to parity coverage. The study would be due two years after the bill's passage.

Addiction treatment advocates agree that moving forward without addiction treatment coverage is in the best long-term interest of getting comprehensive parity.

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