Addiction Policy News

ASAM Urges California Governor to Sign Parity Legislation

September 6, 2020


On September 6, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Kennedy Forum, and 36 other organizations sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to sign SB855, which would ensure that health plans in California cover medically necessary care.


The letter stresses that without requirements that health insurers use a standardized definition of medical necessity and follow generally accepted standards of mental health and substance use disorder care when conducting utilization review, insurers can put financial motivations before patients' needs. By signing SB 855, Governor Newsom can prevent such coverage practices that undermine access to care. This legislation is also critical to ensuring that commercial health plans do their part in addressing skyrocketing mental health and addiction needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly urgent given enormously strained state and local budgets, which cannot easily expand access to treatment or afford to absorb additional costs passed on by insurers.  


Read the letter here.


Read the bill here.