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Article Abstract

Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 3, Issue 4, 2000. Pages: 215-217

Published Online: 22 Aug 2001

Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


 Commentary
Assessing state parity legislation*
Samuel H. Zuvekas, Ph.D. *
Center for Cost and Financing Studies, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2101 E. Jefferson St.-Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852, US
email: Samuel H. Zuvekas (szuvekas@ahrq.gov)

*Correspondence to Samuel H. Zuvekas, Center for Cost and Financing Studies, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2101 E. Jefferson St.-Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852, US.

*The views expressed in this paper are those of the author, and no official endorsement by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the Department of Health and Human Services is intended or should be inferred.

Abstract
The temptation is great, but premature, to conclude from the Sturm study that parity mandates had no effect on access and insurance coverage for the mentally ill. The study lacks statistical power for those directly covered by the mandates, and it is unlikely adequate power exists for those only indirectly affected. The inclusion of the uninsured, Medicaid enrollees, and privately covered individuals not subject to the mandates, and the imprecise outcome measures, increase the likelihood that other factors dominate parity. The timing of implementation in some states is also problematic. But Sturm asks the right questions and future waves of the Healthcare for Communities survey and other data will be better able to address them. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Received: 16 November 2000; Accepted: 5 February 2001