When both houses of Congress approved bills last week requiring insurers to provide mental health benefits equivalent to those for physical illness, advocates who had worked 10 years to enact such legislation lauded it as a major step forward.
But the House and Senate versions differed, and the legislative session was coming to a close. It wasn’t clear Congress would act quickly enough to have something on the President’s desk before adjournment.
Subsequently the credit markets froze, the House turned Paulson’s 3 page scheme into a 240 treatise before voting it down, and the markets dropped like a stone.
The Senate had to clean up the mess, and thanks to a handful of clear headed, dedicated people who seized the moment, the Senate’s version of the mental health bill became part of the bailout legislation (see page 310 out of 451) that it passed on Wednesday.
Now it’s on to the House.
Terrific work right there by people who know how to get things done in Washington. There are some who will point to enactment of this mental health legislation as the crowning achievement of their careers. These people are, of course, “all in” on the bailout. We wish them luck!