Press release: Governor signs NUHW-backed mental health bill

September 26th, 2020

Statement by Sal Rosselli, National Union of Healthcare Workers President, on Governor Newsom signing SB 855 into law

The following statement is from Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Health Care Workers (NUHW), which represents nearly 5,000 mental health clinicians in California.

SB 855 is a major breakthrough for expanding access to mental health care and addiction treatment services. This law closes serious loopholes in California’s Mental Health Parity Act, and makes California the leader in achieving real parity for mental health care.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers partnered with State Senator Wiener and mental health advocacy organizations, including the Kennedy Forum and the Steinberg Institute on SB 855 because our members who provide mental health therapy have seen firsthand how private insurers routinely deny Californians the mental health and addiction treatment services that are promised in their policies. In many cases, Californians have actually had to give up their private insurance and go on taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal simply to get care.

We commend Governor Newsom for showing once again that he is a champion for equal access to health care and furthering his stated goal of improving the accessibility and quality of mental health and substance use disorder services for all Californians. We also commend State Senator Wiener for drafting the legislation and shepherding it through the Legislature.

At a moment when the need for mental health and addiction treatment services has never been greater, our state leaders have taken action that will help countless Californians finally access the care they need.

As Governor Newsom said when signing the bill today, this is a good step toward mental health parity but there is more work to be done. We look forward to partnering with the governor next year to make further progress.

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