Paul Wellstone’s Legacy: Mental Health Parity

Thursday marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic death of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), his wife Sheila, and six others in a plane crash over Eveleth, MN. A bill he championed, requiring that most health insurers cover mental health and addiction treatment the same way they cover physical illnesses, became law in 2008 — named the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 for Wellstone and his one-time Republican Senate colleague. The Wellstone Act was signed by President George W. Bush and implemented by the Obama administration. American Medical Association President Dr. Jeremy Lazarus called the bill “one of the most dramatic improvements in the health care available for people who have mental illness and substance use problems in my lifetime.”