Mental Health Parity Measure Tacked onto Wall Street Aid Bill

October 2, 2008 ( - Compromise mental health parity legislation (H.R. 1424) has been joined with a Wall Street financial aid package that passed the U.S. Senate this week.

According to a BNA report, the Senate on September 23 passed energy and tax legislation (H.R. 6049) that included parity language that matched that in a House stand-alone bill (H.R. 6983) approved the same day

The Senate has rejected the method the House used to pay for its stand-alone parity bill, offsetting its cost by delaying implementation of the worldwide interest allocation tax benefit for multinational companies, the report said. The cost of the parity bill was not directly offset in the Senate energy and tax measure.

Provisions of the parity legislation will cost an estimated $3.9 billion over 10 years, according to the Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate version of the parity bill is available  here .

The parity bills ban insurers from being more restrictive on workplace mental health coverage than for medical/surgical items (See Mental Health Parity Bills Get Through Congress ).