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After the House and Senate failed to agree on a few key provisions of the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007, Congress extended the existing 1996 law for one year until a compromise can be reached. Proponents of the new, stronger legislation had expected a resolution of differences before the end of 2007. The main hang-up centered on state’s rights. The stricter Senate version would force state’s to adhere to the federal law, while the House bill would allow states to add additional mandates beyond those in the federal legislation. Legislators in both bodies are confident that the new law will be passed this year, and President Bush is expected to sign it into law. The act would require that group health deductibles, co-payments and covered hospital days and visits for mental-health benefits be on par with those for other physical impairments.

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