Statement attributable to:

Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH

President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supports the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing insurers’ continued failures to comply with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). For more than 15 years, the combined lack of enforcement and compliance with MHPAEA has been a significant factor driving the nation’s mental health crisis and substance use disorder epidemic, which have both been exacerbated by the pandemic. Insurers' egregious violations of MHPAEA contribute to growing inequities in mental health and substance use disorder care, which often falls disproportionally to historically minoritized communities.

“When behavioral health treatment is delayed or denied, the results can be tragic and for far too long, insurers have created improper barriers to care through unnecessary administrative burdens including prior authorization, inadequate networks, lack of benefits and other denials or delays in necessary care. The AMA continues to urge the administration to take action to remove barriers to evidence-based mental health and substance use disorder care in all health insurance programs.

“We urge the Biden Administration to provide the Labor Department with the necessary resources to make oversight and enforcement of MHPAEA a top priority. We hope the Labor Department, as well as states, will increase efforts to regularly review plans to ensure they are in compliance with MHPAEA—and hold insurers accountable if they are not.”

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Editor's note: An AMA Viewpoint published last fall discusses the threat posed by a lack of access to evidence-based mental health care.

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