Georgia House passes Mental Health Bill
TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) -Georgia’s House recently passed a bill that would dramatically change health insurance coverage of mental health issues. Georgia House passed the Georgia Mental Health Bill by a 169-3 vote.
This bill forces insurance companies to cover mental health issues the same way as they do physical conditions. Legislators say they want the money to be spent on patient care rather than administrative costs.
Roland Behm, Board of Directors with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), spoke with WALB Thursday about the importance. He lost his son to suicide in 2019. He says his involvement in mental health started after his son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011. He remembers his son and says the passing of this bill is transformational.
“It’s transformational because it’s not something that solidly addresses parity it addresses wide variety of challenges in Georgia’s behavior health care system. First and foremost is parity but the bill also covers a number of things like extending cancelable loans to mental health and substance abuse disorder professionals,” he says.
Some legislators are concerned about costs. But if it becomes law, proponents believe it will keep many out of financial and legal trouble. The bill now heads to the state’s Senate.
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