Monday, March 3, 2008
National Mental Health Parity Legislation Reaches House Vote
AFSP Asks You to Support Passage of H.R.1424
On Wednesday, March 5, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (H.R.1424) is scheduled for vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Following the Senate’s passage of the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S.558 ) in September, the House is poised to take up H.R.1424, a comprehensive bill that expands the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 by prohibiting group health plans from imposing treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical/surgical services. The legislation applies only to group health plans already providing mental health benefits and exempts plans sponsored by small businesses of fewer than 50 employees.
AFSP asks that all parity supporters contact their representative and urge him or her to vote for H.R.1424. To contact your representative in this regard, please call the 1-866-PARITY4 (1-866-727-4894), which directs you to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, or go to www.house.gov.
It is AFSP’s hope that Senate and House leaders will continue to work together to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions and produce a bill that can be signed into law.
In December, AFSP cosigned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), urging Congress to give the highest priority to passing strong mental health parity legislation that would make insurance coverage for treatment of mental disorders comparable to other illnesses. Together with other national suicide prevention and mental health organizations, and as part of the Mental Health Liaison Group, AFSP has advocated for greater health insurance parity for persons with mental illness and for stopping insurance discrimination of those in need of mental health treatment.