House Approves Mental Health Bill
Via TPM, from NYT
After more than a decade of struggle, the House on Wednesday passed a bill
requiring most group health plans to provide more generous coverage for
treatment of mental illnesses, comparable to what they provide for physical
illnesses. The vote was 268 to 148, with 47 Republicans joining 221 Democrats
in support of the measure.
The Senate has passed a similar bill requiring equivalence, or parity, in coverage of mental and physical ailments. Federal law now allows insurers to discriminate, and most do so, by setting higher co-payments or stricter limits on mental health benefits. “Illness of the brain must be treated just like illness anywhere else in the body,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Supporters of the House bill, including consumer groups and the American Psychiatric Association, said it would be a boon to many of the 35 million Americans who experience disabling symptoms of mental disorders each year.