By Jacklyn Wille
September 13, 2017
Pete Domenici, a six-term Republican U.S. senator from New Mexico, died
Sept. 13, nearly nine years after the mental health parity law he championed
was signed into law.
Domenici, whose daughter Clare was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was one of
the driving forces behind the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health
Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which was signed by President
George W. Bush. The law is aimed at increasing patients' access to mental
health and substance abuse services by requiring health plans sponsored by
companies with more than 50 employees to cover those services on the same
terms as medical and surgical treatments. Among other things, the law
prevents health plans from imposing more restrictive treatment limitations
or cost-sharing requirements on mental health benefits than those that apply
to medical or surgical benefits.