Having Rejected Mental Health Parity, Iowa Lawmakers Plan to Address Substance Abuse Coverage Next Session
Approving a mental health parity bill during the Iowa Legislature's next session "will take a demonstration of public support," the Des Moines Register reports. A mental health parity law would require insurers to provide the same level of coverage for mental illness as they do for physical problems. During the 2000 legislative session, state Rep. Betty Grundberg (R) introduced a bill that "gathered some initial support," but that support "eventually splintered," the Register reports. Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson (D), a "vocal supporter of mental-health parity," had argued against the bill, noting that it "did little more than mandate what already exists." In particular, she opposed the bill because it failed to require coverage for substance abuse treatment, which she said is "often linked to mental health services." But Grundberg said, "One of the problems we've had is that this state is just now trying to get its hands around this issue of how effective substance abuse treatment really is. We throw money out there in six different directions -- six places where money for substance abuse filters down from the state. And then we have funding at the county level, too. But we've never really been able to look at the effectiveness of all this." Pederson and Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) plan to send a bill calling for substance abuse coverage to the Legislature next year (Kauffman, Des Moines Register, 11/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.