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Rep. Porter Bills to Improve Mental Health Coverage, Protect Americans with High Medical Expenses Signed into Law

Congresswoman’s proposals to improve maternal mental health, reduce sexual assault kit backlog, and reduce veteran suicide also become law

Bills introduced by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) to improve mental health coverage and protect Americans with high out-of-pocket medical costs were signed into law yesterday as part of government funding and coronavirus relief legislation.

Porter introduced both of these bills last year and has been fighting to have them signed into law. Her Mental Health Parity Compliance Act would strengthen enforcement of federal law requiring that insurance companies cover mental health the same as other types of care. Her bill protecting people with high out-of-pocket medical costs permanently lowers the income threshold for Americans to use the medical expense tax deduction.

“For far too long, we’ve allowed insurance companies to defy the law and fail patients who need mental health treatment,” Porter said. “The law signed yesterday, which ramps up enforcement of the requirement that mental health care be treated as health care, takes a big step in the right direction in fulfilling the promise of mental health parity for all Americans.”

“By making it easier for people to use the medical expense tax deduction, we're delivering much needed help to the far too many Americans facing out of control healthcare costs, including older adults, people with disabilities, and people with chronic illnesses,” Porter added.

The legislation signed into law also includes Porter-authored amendments to invest in a maternal mental health hotline, reduce the nation’s sexual assault kit backlog, and strengthen resources for veterans contemplating suicide.