Mental Challenge: Looking into the Future of Health Care Reform Litigation

May 11, 2010

In what the New York Times is reporting as a preview to the types of conflicts we will likely see concerning health care reform (5/10/10 NYT A15), insurers are challenging the regulations promulgated pursuant to the 2008 “Wellstone Act” (Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act). 

A news search using the phrase “Mental Health Parity” or “Wellstone Act” within the last month or so (try Westlaw database ALLNEWS) should provide plenty of material regarding this topic.  As you will find within the first four or five results, the name for the insurance companies is “Coalition of Parity.”  Litigation is taking place in the District Court of D.C.

At this point a “title” search on Westlaw in the District Court of D.C. (DCTDC) or through an advanced search on WestlawNext will bring up a disposition in the case (ti(“coalition of parity”)).  This disposition will lead to the Federal Register that contains the regulation at issue, the Public Law, and an overview of the issues involved.  However, even more helpful will be the docket to the case linked at the bottom of the disposition.  Recent federal dockets have images of filings attached to them, so you now have at your fingertips the arguments brought by both sides.

What if there were no dispositions available?  Well, we could have followed the Court Document link at the top of Westlaw to the docket databases and ran a “party search” there as well.  Either way, to continue to follow this case, I am setting up a Docket Alert by clicking on the “Track this Docket” link at the top of the document.  When a new filing is received (the answer is due on June 1st) I will be notified so I can check out the latest wrinkle in the (mental) health care debate.