Monday, March 3, 2008

H.R. 1424 - Paul Wellstone Mental Health & Addiction Equity Act

The House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 1424 on March 5. If your representative isn't one of the 273 cosponsors, please contact your representative and urge him or her to support this bill. If you're unsure of your representative's identity and/or phone number, go here.

What is the bill?
Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Public Health
Service Act, and the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit treatment limits or the imposition of financial requirements on mental health and substance-related disorder benefits in group health plans which are not similarly imposed on substantially all medical and surgical benefits in any category of items or services under such plans.

Directs the Comptroller General to study the effect of the implementation of this Act on various aspects of the health care system, including the cost of and access to health insurance coverage, the quality of health care, Medicare, Medicaid, and state and local mental health and substance abuse treatment spending, and spending on public services.

One question you're probably asking: who was Paul Wellstone?


  1. Matt: Because I live in the 7th congressional district, I have no representative. (Julia Carson having died recently.) Would you happen to know how the candidates who are running in the March 11 special election stand on this issue? (That woyld be Andre Carson, Jon Elrod or Sean Shepard.)


  2. I'm guessing Andre Carson would vote as Julia would have voted since she was one of the many cosponsors of the bill.

  3. On one hand, giving mental health its due sounds good, but it also will drive up insurance premiums as the cost of providing the services on an equal footing hits the insurance company's pocketbooks.

    Then, as we complain about higher insurance costs, the push for a government-run system becomes even easier to do, which the newly canonized liberal Saint Paul of St. Paul would approve of.

    The person-struggling-with-emotional issues likes the bill but the free marketeer doesn't. The title of the bill alone will scare off half of the Republicans in the Senate.

  4. Mark: I support this bill for two reasons.

    (1) I work in the mental health field. This is my livelihood. I like getting paid every other week, so naturally I'll support it.

    (2) I'm a Democrat, so I MUST side with whatever other Democrats are pushing.


  5. The Administration supports passage of mental health parity legislation that does not significantly increase health coverage costs. However, the Administration has concerns with
    1424, which would effectively mandate coverage of a broad range of diseases and conditions and would have a negative effect on the accessibility and affordability of employer-provided health benefits and would undermine the uniform administration of employee benefit plans. For example, the bill’s confusing preemption provisions could be read to add a patchwork of remedies that vary from State to State. Therefore the Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1424 or any legislation that expands benefits and remedies beyond what is included in the Senate-passed S. 558.
    Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers.