WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today released the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s proposed rule to extend mental health parity to low-income Americans. The rule would ensure that people who are covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have the same access to mental health and substance-abuse benefits that are provided by private health plans.

“This new proposed rule brings us one step closer to achieving long-overdue fairness for people suffering from mental illness and chemical dependency. It also brings us one step closer to realizing the dream of the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who championed equality and dignity for those with mental health issues, and whose fight I have continued throughout my time in the Senate. However, we must ensure that all regulations regarding mental health parity are fully implemented quickly so that every American—including those with Medicaid, CHIP, or private insurance—has access to the quality mental health and substance abuse disorder services they deserve.”

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 required that health insurance and group health plans cover treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorders in the same way they do physical illnesses. The proposed rule would extend provisions of that law to Medicaid and CHIP to improve access to mental health and substance abuse disorder services for low-income Americans.