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Bailout includes top federation issues

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Two top legislative priorities of the Jewish federation system were included in the economic bailout bill signed by President Bush.

Provisions providing mental health parity and an IRA charitable rollover were among those backed by
the United Jewish Communities.

The first provision, the Paul Wellstone Memorial Equity and Addiction Act, protects those specifically seeking treatment for mental illness and substance abuse against discrimination by insurance companies. It  requires that the companies provide mental health patients with the same benefits and coverage as those with physical and surgical illnesses.

The rollover would allow individuals 70 1/2 and older to transfer tax-free up to $100,000 per year from their Individual Retirement Account to a qualified charity through 2009. UJC and the federation system have received more than $20 million from donors through the program during 2006 and 2007.

William Daroff, UJC’s vice president for public policy and director of its Washington office, said the bill “provides relief on a number of fronts. It provides relief for the economy, it provides relief from the tax man and it provides relief from unfair insurance discrimination.”

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