Legislation Would Extend Mental Health Coverage Law
The House on Thursday voted 384-23 to approve legislation (HR 4848) that would extend for one year a law that prohibits health insurers from imposing annual or lifetime caps on mental health coverage that differ from those imposed for other illnesses, CQ Today reports. The law does not require health plans to provide coverage for mental health illnesses. The legislation also includes a provision proposed by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) that would require collection of delinquent taxes from physicians and hospitals by withholding Medicare payments through the Federal Payment Levy Program.
During floor debate on the measure, Democratic Reps. Patrick Kennedy (R.I.) and Frank Pallone (N.J.) discussed broader mental health parity legislation (HR 1424) that is being prepared for floor consideration. That measure would expand mental health regulations and require insurers to provide equal coverage for physical and mental care. In addition, the bill would require coverage of certain mental health conditions (Armstrong, CQ Today, 2/7).