Parity for Michigan 

A grass roots guide to achieving mental health parity for all in Michigan (if you are visiting again...refresh your page for updates)

Now is the time for mental health parity in Michigan for all, not just for some.

May is Mental Health Month.  It is time again, to renew our effort to get mental health parity enacted in Michigan.

Partners for Parity support Senate Bill 50, introduced by Senator Rebekah Warren. We are anticipating the introduction of parity bills in the Michigan House.

Recent developments: Last month Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley signed into law the legislation that would provide coverage for autism treatment. In interviews and in testimony during the legislative process, he stated his willingness to consider mental health parity, after the autism package passed.

Partners for Parity advocated hard during that process, from February through April.  We met with every legislator in Michigan’s Senate and House of Representatives. We were very encouraged by the response to comprehensive parity. Many legislators were less than pleased to be in the position of singling out one disorder for coverage, essentially picking winners and losers.

Families turned out for the effort and spoke up in hearings, the press and in legislators’ offices with their stories and challenging legislators to see that their children are no less worthy of insurance coverage than are children with autism. Partners for Parity want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Association for Children’s Mental Health and also thank Michigan’s Children for the advocacy support from their network…and to all the individuals and organizations who worked so hard, including our wonderful lobbyists.

However, parity for all was not embraced by the leadership or by those steering the autism effort. This was wrong. Discrimination is wrong. It is time to right a wrong.

Opponents of parity, business groups and some labor unions, such as the UAW, also opposed the autism mandates, but it was as if they would “let this one go” rather than lose their relentless and misguided campaign against comprehensive parity. Not one of the 43 states who have passed parity laws has run into union opposition like we have in Michigan…indeed, unions (including the AFL-CIO) were active supporters in some states’ recent efforts.  In Michigan, we have enjoyed the active support of AFSCME and the Michigan Nurses Association. Parity is also supported by the Health Plan Association of Michigan.

Business groups, such as the US Chamber of Commerce and insurers, including National BCBS ASSN??? were partners in developing the federal parity law, which was enacted in 2008. Our state level business organizations and some insurers are members of the Economic Alliance of Michigan, which has organized their opposition since our parity effort began 17 years ago. Thus, parity opponents work “both sides of the aisle” to continue the discrimination against brain disorders.

But perhaps, this May, the people of Michigan and their legislators will say “Enough!”

See the Action Alert page for assistance with your advocacy.

We want to express our appreciation to the many people who are making the effort to support the hard-working families and advocates who have devoted so much time and energy to achieve mental health parity for all in Michigan.

 Read the family stories and testimony.

My child has a brain disorder too
Mental Health Parity for all

43 other states have parity laws providing equitable mental health care for their citizens.  25 out of 29 states that have autism coverage laws already had a state mental health parity law on the books.