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Senators press administration on mental health parity

Senators press administration on mental health parity
© Greg Nash

Top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Health Committee are pressing the Trump administration to implement mental health parity requirements passed by Congress in 2016.

The Treasury Department, Department of Health and Human Services, and Labor Department still have not enforced or acted on provisions in the law that require equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders in insurance plans.

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Under the 21st Century Cures Act, a massive health-care bill passed in December 2016, the agencies were given one year to issue guidance to employers and insurers to implement parity requirements and an action plan to strengthen enforcement requirements. 

The agencies still have not done this, the senators wrote in a letter led by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.). 

"We urge swift action to implement the parity provisions in Cures," they wrote. 

The senators ask for responses to their questions by May 1 and a briefing on the implementation for Health Committee members' staff.

Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTrump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Dem ad accuses Heller of 'lying' about record on pre-existing conditions GOP senator suggests criminal referral for third Kavanaugh accuser's 'apparently false affidavit' MORE (R-La.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPoll: Palin unpopular in Alaska following jab at Murkowski Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Ex-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party MORE (R-Alaska), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Republican Senate candidate apologizes after swastika spotted in campaign ad Poll: Dem Stabenow has 9-point lead over Republican James in Michigan Senate race MORE (D-Mich.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (D-Conn.), all members of the Health Committee, also signed the letter.