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BUSCHING-KAPOCHUNAS FINAL

2/4/2009 1:59:19 AM

618

HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL

[Vol. 25:601

failed to become a law,110

as did the subsequent and virtually identical

Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2001 (“MHETA II”) Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2002 (“MHETA III”). 111 112

and

The Sisyphean113 journey of the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act continued in 2003, when it was introduced for a final time.114 A well-articulated argument in support of the MHETA III is found in Representative Patrick J. Kennedy’s article, “Why We Must End Insurance Discrimination Against Mental Health Care.”115 Kennedy’s pleas fell on deaf ears, as the MHETA III, like its predecessors, failed to become a law. The next attempt by the federal legislature to close the gap between mental and physical illness coverage would not come until the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007, described below.

The Mental Health Parity Act of 2007

On February 12, 2007, Senators Kennedy, Domenici, & Enzi introduced to Congress the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (“MHPA

II”).116 MHPA

The I by

MHPA II seeks

to

requiring parity

for

close the loopholes left open by the a detailed list of conditions, such as

deductibles, co-payments, annual and lifetime days and visits, etc., as opposed to the meager

limits, number of hospital annual and lifetime limits

  • 110.

    See Library of Cong., supra note 108.

  • 111.

    Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2001, S. 543, 107th Cong. (2001).

  • 112.

    Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2002, H.R. 4066, 107th Cong. (2002).

  • 113.

    Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology, was sentenced by the Gods to remain in the

underworld rolling a large boulder to the top of a hill, only to have the boulder slip from his grasp and roll back to the base before reaching the top. 10 ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA INC., THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA 848 (15th ed. 1994) (1768).

114. See

Library

of

Cong.,

www.thomas.gov/cgi-

bin/bdquery/z?d108:SN00486:@@@d&summ2=m& (last visited July 17, 2008).

115. Patrick J. Kennedy, Policy Essay, Why We Must End Insurance Discrimination Against Mental Health Care, 41 HARV. J. ON LEGIS. 363, 366, 368-74 (2004) (referring to MEHTA III as the “Wellstone Act,” named after Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota, an advocate of mental health parity).

116. Mental Health Parity Act of 2007, S. 558, 110th Cong. (2007), available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.558:. See also 153 CONG. REC. S1850-01, S1864-65 (daily ed. Feb. 12, 2007) (statements of Sen. Domenici & Sen. Kennedy) (explaining the exploited loopholes of the MHPA I and the intended effects of the MHPA II); Press Release, Kennedy, Domenici, & Enzi Unveil Long-Awaited Breakthrough on Mental Health Parity: Legislation Will

Build

on

Landmark

1996

Parity

Law

(Feb.

12,

2007),

available

at

http://help.senate.gov/Maj_press/2007_02_12_b.pdf. See generally Nat’l Alliance on Mental Illness, Details and Background on the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (Feb. 13, 2007), available

at

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=February10&Template=/

ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=43285 (discussing the evolution of the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007).

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