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Senate Rejects Effort to Cut Off Debate on Small Business Health Insurance Bill

Threat to State Parity Laws Averted – For Now

May 12, 2006

By a vote 55-43, the Senate rejected the effort to limit debate on S 1955, legislation to authorize new small business health insurance plans that would have significantly undermine laws at the state level requiring health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses (insurance parity).  The vote was on a critical parliamentary motion to impose “cloture” -- to cut off debate and move S 1955 to final passage with very limited opportunities for amendments.  In the Senate, 60 votes are required to impose cloture, thus the motion fell five votes short. 

With the prospect of unlimited Senate debate on S 1955, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) pulled the legislation from consideration.  This means that S 1955 has been derailed in the Senate.  However, Senator Frist and bill sponsor Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) have the option of bringing the bill back to the full Senate at any time.

NAMI would like to thank advocates for their efforts in reaching out to Senators to urge opposition to S 1955.  Yesterday’s Senate vote is a victory for preserving mental illness insurance parity laws at the state level.

Click here to view a list of how Senators voted on S 1955.

Additional background on S 1955

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