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Mental health parity stalls again in Legislature

Mental health parity stalls again in Legislature Monday, Dec.18, 2006 – LANSING, Mich. State lawmakers gave swift approval to scores of bills during the frantic last week of their two-year session.
But long and emotional debate was saved for a stalled Senate measure on mental health parity that didn’t get a vote. That left term-limited sponsor Beverly Hammerstrom disappointed and supporters pledging to continue her efforts in the next session.

The legislation would have required health insurers to give as much coverage to mental illness as they do to physical ones.

The legislation has been pushed for years by Hammerstrom. The Temperance Republican says a stigma against mental illness has led to fewer therapy visits, inpatient days and allowable expenses along with higher copays and deductibles.

©2006 Associated Press