Former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy has returned to the spotlight for the issue of mental health parity by testifying at a Massachusetts hearing on the topic, CommonHealth reports. He was the lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008 along with the late Senator Ted Kennedy, his father. The law requires health insurers to treat mental health and substance use disorders in the same manner that they treat physical health conditions. However, the federal government has yet to implement final regulations, which has prevented enforcement of the law. As a result, lawsuits alleging violations of the parity law have been filed in both California and New York. In addition, other states, such as Massachusetts, are moving forward to enforce the parity law at the state level. Because of Massachusetts’s leadership in health reform, Kennedy said, it could influence other states to follow its lead.

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