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House Panel Passes Mental Health Parity Bill

October 12, 2007
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Related Topics: Medical Benefits Law, Benefit Design and Communication, Latest News
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The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee this week approved mental health care benefits parity legislation on a voice vote, sending the bill to the full committee and moving the measure closer to a vote by the House of Representatives.

The legislation approved by the panel on October 10, H.R. 1424, mirrors bills cleared earlier by the House committees on Education and Labor as well as Ways and Means.

Under the bill, group health care plans would have to provide the same coverage for mental health care disorders as they do for other medical conditions.

Additionally, group health care plans would have to cover all mental health care services that are listed in the most recent edition of a diagnostic treatment manual published by the American Psychiatric Assn.

The panel approved the bill after defeating on a 19-9 vote a substitute bill proposed by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., to insert in its place a mental health care benefits parity measure the Senate cleared last month.

The most significant difference between the House and Senate bills is that the Senate bill lacks the House provision dictating the type of mental health care services that group health care plans would have to cover.

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