President Obama to sign Murphy mental health bill

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a major overhaul of the mental health system, and it comes through the efforts of dozens of Connecticut residents that provided months of input to Senator Chris Murphy, who got the changes included in a bi-partisan bill about to be signed by President Obama Tuesday.

It’s estimated that more than half of all adults and children with mental health problems end up getting no treatment. This change in law is designed to address that.

Related Content: ’21st Century Cures Act’ heads to Obama to become law

When Senator Chris Murphy returns to Washington tomorrow morning to witness President Obama signing the “Mental Health Reform Act” he says it will be the culmination of the most important thing he has done since he first went to congress.

Murphy succinctly described the status of mental heath care in the U.S. Tuesday.

If your body is broken below the neck you are more likely to get good care than if your body is broken above the neck.”

Related Content: Sen. Murphy bill to help fight national opioid crisis passes U.S. Senate, heads to president’s desk

49-year-old Kathy Flaherty, of Newington, knows first hand. When she was in law school, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and has bi-polar disorder.  “Your doctor recommends something and then somebody sitting at a desk at an insurance company denies it because they think it’s not ‘medically necessary,” says Flaherty.

Murphy notes that up until now, even if your statement of benefits says you have a mental health benefit in your policy, insurance companies require a lot of red tape that they don’t when you are hospitalized for a broken leg or some other physical ailment. Added Murphy, “It forces insurance companies to start paying for more mental health treatment. This bill now says that if you are denying treatments on the mental health side at a greater rate than on the physical health side then you’re in violation of federal law.”

Related Content: Mental health reform is (finally) poised to pass in Congress

Kathy, who is now the Executive Director of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, say the old way was ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ because many people end up in crisis,  “When they don’t give you coverage for low cost interventions and you don’t have access to the services and support you need you’re a lot more likely to have to use the most expensive parts of the system when
things don’t go well.”

There will be a single portal within the federal government for citizens to complain about denials of coverage and the government will act after just 5 complaints against an insurance company.

Related Content: Sen. Murphy Touts Mental Health Bill Process

This bill also brings more money back to the states to help fight the opioid epidemic and to study tick born diseases.

Web Extra: Mental Health Reform Fact Sheet provided by Senator Murphy’s Office.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s