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Bush Could Cut Federal Mental-Health Benefits

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In an effort to save money in the federal employee health insurance program, aides to President Bush are reviewing options that could including cutting mental-health parity benefits authorized by the Clinton administration, the Washington Post reported Jan. 24.

Under the new parity requirement, mental-health conditions must receive the same coverage as physical ailments. The benefit was estimated to have added 1.3 percentage points of this year's total 10.5 percent average premium increase for the plan.

Although the Bush administration made no formal announcement regarding cuts in the program this year, officials familiar with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review said it could result in the removal or reduction of some benefits.

One official noted that the Bush administration wants to reduce costs in the health insurance program in an effort to fund priorities elsewhere in the government.

A White House spokeswoman said the OMB review was routine for any new administration.

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