On the Passing of Jim Ramstad, Advocate for Addiction Treatment Equity

    Jim Ramstad was a champion and pioneer in advocating for the rights of people with addiction. His honesty about his own struggles gave voice to many others and served as a powerful tool in promoting change.

    Among his numerous victories during his nine terms representing the citizens of Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, was enacting the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires most health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment the same way they cover treatment for any other disease. Most notably, he was instrumental in expanding this legislation to specifically include addiction. As a moderate Republican, it’s Ramstad’s bipartisan kinship and collaboration with fellow Democratic U.S. Representative, Patrick Kennedy, that is attributed with much of this success.

    At the time of his passing, Jim had achieved more than 39 years of recovery.

    He was a kind and gracious person and a beloved board member. “Jim’s personal and professional commitment to this issue, and his openness about his own addiction, paved the way for others struggling with this disease,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Partnership to End Addiction. “His legacy legislation – the Parity Act – opened the door to treatment for millions of families impacted by mental health and substance use issues.”

    As we dedicate our work in advocating for full parity enforcement to Jim Ramstad and his legacy, we are keeping Jim’s wife Kathryn, his daughter Christen, and his family and many friends in our loving thoughts.



    November 2020

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