In a surprise move, the Iowa Senate has voted to force insurance companies to include coverage for mental illnesses in health insurance policies. G-O-P Senator Maggie Tinsman of Bettendorf was among a handful of republicans who joined all the Senate’s democrats to endorse the insurance mandate. She says a mental illness should be treated like a medical illness, as people don’t go out with the intent of getting mental illness any more than they go out to get a heart attack. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says it was an “historic” vote. He says many legislators have been working on the issue for 20 or 25 years. Gronstal hopes republicans will let the bill move forward.The action came as Senators approved an amendment to a bill that would have, instead, provided a tax break to small businesses that provide mental health coverage as part of workers’ insurance benefits. The Senate’s republican leader tabled the altered proposal and hasn’t indicated whether it will ever again see the light of day.
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