Obama this week instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to complete regulations that will direct healthcare providers to cover more mental health services, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
A report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found more than 45 million adults nationwide suffered from mental illness in 2011. About 11 million of those people had a serious illness, and of those more than 40 percent did not get treatment.
As part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which will be fully implemented in 2014, millions of Americans will have access to mental health services for the first time, the report said.
"This was a giant step forward," said Carol McDaid, a lobbyist who has been working for nearly 20 years to expand protections for the mentally ill, in reference to mental health provisions in the healthcare act.
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