– Obama gun plan calls for long-awaited rules on mental health (The Hill, Jan 16, 2013):
President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence calls for long-awaited rules requiring insurance companies to cover mental health services.
Obama said his administration would finalize rules on mental health parity, the requiring of mental healthcare to be covered the same way as physical healthcare. The regulations have languished since 2008, and Senate Democrats had called on Obama to push the rules forward as part of his gun-control recommendations.
Obama also said his administration would be “issuing guidance making clear that the Affordable Care Act does not prevent doctors from talking to patients about gun safety,” amid a host of other healthcare-related actions and recommendations.
The White House plan calls for bolstering access to mental health services in schools and encouraging teachers to intervene early when they believe a student needs counseling.
“We know that the vast majority of Americans with a mental illness are not violent, but we also know that more than 60 percent of people who experience mental illness do not receive treatment and that crisis situations can develop without proper treatment,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement Wednesday.
Obama also directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence, despite a congressional order that prohibits the agency from conducting any research that would “advocate or promote gun control.”
Obama said that order should not be read as an all-out ban on gun research, and he called on Congress to provide $10 million in funding for the CDC to study gun violence and possible links to violent movies and video games.