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As Congress returns to session, mental health advocates remain hopeful that legislation reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will remain at the top of their agenda. The SCHIP program expires September 30.
Both the House and Senate passed competing bills (HR 3162 and S 1893). The Senate bill, say advocates, contains key provisions that would improve mental health services for children and end discriminatory financial provisions and treatment limitations currently in operation in SCHIP (see MHW, Aug. 13).
The House bill includes other mental health provisions and strengthens the Medicare mental health program. The House legislation also blocks an Administration-proposed cutback on Medicaid rehabilitative services, according to advocates.
Both bills eliminate the 75 percent actuarial-equivalent allowance of mental health services covered by benchmark-equivalent SCHIP plans, thereby requiring …