Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate both passed laws that will require employee health plans to offer the same benefits for mental illness as they do for other medical conditions.
The House approved H.R. 6983 by a 376-47 vote, and the Senate passed another version, H.R. 6049 (a tax and energy bill containing the mental health parity legislation as a rider), by a 93-2 vote. There are some minor discrepancies between the two versions (such as how it will be paid for) to be worked out, but that should not prevent the bill from becoming law. The Bush administration has stated that it supports the Senate version of the law.
If Congress can iron out the differences before it adjourns for the year, the bill will go into effect January 1, 2008. Keep an eye on the Stoel Rives World of Employment for more developments.