House Lets Go of Key Provision in Mental Health Parity Bill

May 23, 2008 ( - In an attempt to reach a compromise on mental health parity legislation, U. S. House conferees agreed to drop a major provision in its version of the new law.

According to Business Insurance, in an offer to the U.S. Senate, the conferees deleted a provision in the parity bill the House passed last year that would require group plans to provide coverage for all mental health care services listed in the most recent edition of a diagnostic treatment manual published by the American Psychiatric Association (See House OKs Mental Health Parity Measure ). The Senate was unwilling to accept the House provision since employer groups opposed it.

With the barrier dropped, the likelihood of a deal being reached in Congress is much greater, the news report said. In a previous news report, the Bush administration said it supports the Senate bill as striking the right balance of expanding coverage without significantly increasing health care costs.

Both the Senate and House versions of mental parity legislation mandate that group health care plans offer the same coverage for mental disorders as they do for other medical conditions.