In 2008, Congress passed and then-President George W. Bush signed into law a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover mental health the same as any other health conditions. They left the enforcement of the Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act up to the states. Twelve years after legislation was signed into law, incoming State Senator Greg Razer says 48 states are enforcing that law – Missouri and Oklahoma are not.

State Sen.-elect Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, speaks on the Missouri House floor on April 11, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Razer, D-Kansas City, has pre-filed a bill that would ban health insurance companies from using loopholes to avoid paying for mental health services or make it difficult for customers to get the services.

“I think everyone realizes that mental health issues are a huge issue – not just in Missouri but around the country. There’s no reason that people can’t get the access that they need when they have health care. So, it’s time that we as a state start enforcing that,” he tells Missourinet.

Razer offered a similar bill this year in the Missouri House but it did not get a committee hearing.

“It’s going to be the right thing for the health and well-being of the citizens of Missouri,” he says. “And frankly any argument that ‘Oh this is going to cause them to go belly up,’ I don’t think they are hurting in the other 48 states.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 80.

Razer served two terms in the Missouri House, from 2017-2020.

The new legislative session begins on January 6 at the state Capitol in Jefferson City.

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