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Parity Update: House Committee Clears Insurance Parity Bill (H. 1424

July 18, 2007

In a major first step toward passing parity legislation in the House, the House Education and Labor Committee approved the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (HR 1424),   by a vote of 33-9. Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN), sponsored the legislation.  The bill will now be taken up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is expected to act on the legislation in September. 

The action by the Education and Labor Committee is a clear demonstration of the political consensus that has developed among Democrats, Republicans and the Bush Administration that Congress needs to act to require that mental illness be covered in group health plans on the same terms and conditions as all other medical conditions. 

During deliberations on HR 1424, the Committee rejected an amendment offered by Rep. John Kline (R-MN) to substitute the Senate bill (S 558) by a vote of 16-27.  Notably, during debate on HR 1424, not one member of the Committee objected to the legislation’s requirement for mental illness to be equitably covered under group health plans.  Instead, members debated the narrow differences between the House and Senate bills. 

For more information on HR 1424 and S 558, click here.

To read the text of the legislation approved by the Education and Labor Committee, click here.

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