Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parity Passage Is ONE Vote Away

Last night the Senate passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which includes mental health/addiction parity legislation and a financial rescue package. The bill is expected to be taken up in the House of Representatives on Friday. The upcoming House vote on the Economic Stabilization Act may be the last chance to pass parity legislation this year. It is likely to be a close vote, given that the House on Monday rejected a more targeted financial-rescue plan.

Parity legislation has been in limbo since the House and Senate passed identical parity provisions in separate bills on September 23, but until now leaders in the two chambers could not reach agreement on a vehicle to overcome procedural and budgetary roadblocks.

In taking up the emergency legislation last night, the Senate again passed the parity compromise agreed to by House and Senate negotiators in June. Parity is now part of what many see as a “must-pass” bill that includes a financial rescue package, higher insurance limits for bank deposits, disaster-relief, and a “fix” to the alternative minimum tax (that would otherwise mean higher taxes for millions of Americans). Mental Health America urges its passage.

Please call your representative using the toll-free Parity Hotline: 1-866-parity4 (1-866-727-4894). The Parity Hotline reaches the U.S. Capitol switchboard, which will connect callers to the offices of their members. Or you can dial the switchboard directly at 202-224-3121.