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Patrick Kennedy: mental health parity and insurance coverage a long way off

By Angela G. Barnes, Medill News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy made a clarion call to Congress and the insurance industry to help millions of Americans facing a lack of parity for mental health coverage in obtaining health insurance.

At the National Press Club Thursday, Kennedy said the time is right for a political movement to address the issue.

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"We need to spur civic action and take this 2016 campaign as an opportunity to express ourselves as consumers," Kennedy said. "...to make sure that mental illness and addiction are no longer ignored by our society and no longer discriminated against by the insurance industry."

Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, said he's leading the charge for mental health equality in insurance coverage and hopes to break the silence about the issue on a national level with his new book, "A Common Struggle."

Kennedy said he hopes the launch of his NOW campaign will develop a political agenda for debate in the 2016 primaries and national election campaign.

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