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Ramstad speaking today on impact of mental health equity law

Congressman Jim Ramstad, who will retire from office at the end of the year, will speak today about the impact of the newly passed mental health equity law, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act.”

Ramstad, a recovering alcoholic, was co-author of the legislation and began working on it with Wellstone 12 years ago.

The law requires insurance companies to consider drug and alcohol addiction and mental health as illnesses and cover them as other sicknesses are covered.

Ramstad will speak at noon to treatment professionals at the annual conference of the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) at St. Paul’s RiverCentre.

Although the legislation does not require health-insurance plans to cover addiction or mental health, insurers will now be barred from imposing any caps or limits on behavioral health care service that are not applied to other health conditions. Most insurance plans do include behavioral-health care coverage, and advocates say that past experience shows that passage of state-level parity laws has not led to insurers to drop such coverage.

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