Parity: HHS Secretary Sebelius Speaks
Editor’s Note: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently delivered comments in Towson, MD, at Sheppard Pratt, which provides care for consumers of mental health services.
"We need to understand what we mean when we say ‘parity.’ What we’re really talking about is ‘parity in reimbursement by private health insurance plans that cover mental health and substance abuse services.’
That is significant, but it’s just a starting point. A broader definition of parity encompasses investments in prevention, investments in health care delivery reform, investments in support services like housing that can affect behavioral health outcomes, and investments in treatment and service system research.
And it’s this fuller version of parity that we should be striving for. Parity establishes the principle that, as a society, we have just as much of an obligation and interest in treating diseases of the brain as we do diseases that affect the rest of the body.
Thanks to the [parity law], millions of Americans with mental illness and substance abuse disorders will get the care they need."
Read the Secretary’s complete speech.