Mental Health Parity
On October 10, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved, by voice vote, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (H.R. 1424), after adopting, also by voice vote, a substitute amendment by Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Among other provisions, the substitute amendment would allow health insurers to apply for a one-year exemption to the parity requirements set forth in the bill if such requirements would increase costs by more than two percent in the first year after enactment or one percent in subsequent years. The amendment also would define mental health disorders based on the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, rather than the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill on September 26 (see The Source, 9/28/07). The House Education and Labor Committee approved the bill on July 18 (see The Source, 7/20/07). The Senate approved its version (S. 558) of the bill on September 18 (see The Source, 9/21/07).
During consideration of the bill, the subcommittee defeated the following amendments: