Wisconsin's Second-in-Charge is calling on the legislature to act on 'mental health parity'.
Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton is urging all 132 lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation (LRB-1049/5) that would ensure equality in healthcare insurance for those with mental health disorders. She says there's still a significant stigma attached to mental illness.
"And there are many people who operate under the mistaken impression that insurance coverage for mental health will cost employers more money. And what we have found in the states like our neighbor in Minnesota that has had mental health parity for over 11 years that that's not true. It doesn't increase costs.
In fact, Lawton says, Wisconsin can no longer afford the cost of UN-treated mental illness. Lawton stresses, with proper medical attention, people with mental illness can contribute to society and our economy.
"We simply are not such a wealthy state that we can afford to sideline any talent."
Lawton says forces are coming together from the business community, nonprofits, government and individuals in all walks of life in every legislative district to support mental health parity.
"It's time for Wisconsin to get out of the basement and out of an embarrassing grouping of only eight states that do not offer mental health parity in insurance coverage."
Lawton says depression alone affects at least 16% of all Americans.