House Passes Bills on Health Insurance Pools, Mental Health
The House passed two bills on Saturday that will affect health insurance. The summaries appear below.
- Health insurance pools: The House passed by voice vote a bill (HR 4519) sponsored by Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) that reauthorizes grants to state-run health insurance pools for high-risk residents. The bill would authorize $75 million in grants through 2010 to help states run health insurance pools for residents who are unable to purchase health insurance because they have chronic illnesses or other pre-existing health conditions. Under the bill, the funding would be divided by allocating 40% among all states, 30% to states based on their number of uninsured residents and 30% based on the number of people in state risk pools. The Senate approved the bill in October (Schuler , CQ Today, 12/18).
- Mental health benefits: The House passed by voice vote a bill (HR 4579) sponsored by Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) that would extend for one year a law prohibiting health insurers from capping lifetime coverage on mental health benefits unless they also set limits on medical and surgical benefits. The bill would extend a 1996 law (PL 104-204) that is set to expire Dec. 31 (Schuler , CQ Today, 12/18).