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Public Statements

Hulshof Applauds Passage of Mental Health Parity Act

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Location: Washington, DC


U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., voted today to pass H.R. 6983, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., voted today to pass H.R. 6983, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

The legislation was taken up in the U.S. House as a stand-alone bill under suspension of the rules, a procedure that prohibits amendments and requires a two-thirds majority for the bill to pass.

"I am pleased to see that the House was able to pass a mental health parity bill that includes the provisions I championed," Hulshof said. "This language ensures the quality and accessibility of mental health and substance abuse benefits for millions of patients. It is truly a landmark day for patient care, and I am proud to be part of it."

Hulshof offered two amendments to the original legislation when it was considered by the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. The first amendment required true parity between mental health benefits and medical/surgical benefits. The second amendment would have allowed insurance plans to use medical management practices for mental benefits.

Although these amendments were not included in the original version of the bill that was considered by the House earlier this year, they were included in the compromise bill that passed the full House today.

H.R. 6983 amends the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act and the Internal Revenue Code to require mental health and substance-related disorder benefits to be included in employer-sponsored health care plans in the same manner that medical and surgical benefits are provided in these plans. The mental health parity requirements apply to group health plans with 51 or more employees.

H.R. 6983 is expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate this week as a stand-alone bill or as part of a larger package.


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