Missouri could join 49 other states by improving access to mental health services

Regional News

The Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.

(Missourinet)– In 2008, Congress passed and then-President George W. Bush signed into law a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover mental health the same as any other health problems. Thirteen years after the measure became law, Missouri is the only state not yet enforcing that law.

Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, says the Missouri Legislature passed two bills this year with a provision he added that would improve access to mental health services. The bills would ban insurance companies from using loopholes to avoid paying for those services or make it difficult for customers to get the help they need.

“Folks aren’t going to have to jump through hoops anymore to make sure that the medicine that their doctor thinks they need is what they’re going to get. They are not going to have unreasonable limitations on the number of times they can go see a mental health professional,” Razer tells Missourinet. “We’re going to be spending less month out of the Medicaid budget. However you look at this, these are all things that are good for society.”

Razer offered a similar bill while he served in the Missouri House.

“I think everyone realizes that mental health issues are a huge issue – not just in Missouri but around the country. There’s no reason that people can’t get the access that they need when they have health care. So, it’s time that we as a state start enforcing that,” he says. “It’s going to be the right thing for the health and well-being of the citizens of Missouri,” he says.

The language was added to House Bill 432 and House Bill 604. They await decisions by Gov. Mike Parson.

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