Hearings on Mental Health Parity Go on the Road
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) on Monday in Pittsburgh, Pa., held a congressional field hearing to increase support for a House bill that would require health insurers to provide the same level of coverage for treatment of mental illnesses and substance abuse as they provide for physical illnesses, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/13). The legislation would require health insurers to provide reimbursements, copayments, deductibles and limits on physician visits for mental health care at the same level as for physical care (American Health Line, 1/17).
The bill would not require employers to offer employees mental health coverage and would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees.
At the hearing, Kennedy and Pennsylvania state Reps. Tim Murphy (R) and Jason Altmire (D) heard testimony from local and national mental health experts, most of whom supported improved coverage for treatment of mental illnesses and substance abuse.
Kennedy said that, although the House likely will pass the legislation, he expects difficulty in negotiations to reconcile differences with a similar bill under consideration in the Senate (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/13).