The House Ways and Means Committee today decided to move forward with House bipartisan bill (HR8876), which reauthorized the federal Home Visiting Program and doubled the program’s annual budget to $800 million over five years. The commission also passed a five-package mental health bill. Among other provisions, the bill would read:
• Adds Medicare outpatient mental health treatment options and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to revise the Medicare payment system for inpatient psychiatric facilities.
• Add marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors as Medicare providers. Remove regulatory barriers that prevent hospitals from providing benefits to all physicians. Direct governments to consider ways to increase access to stimulant addiction treatment.
• Require coverage of forensic examinations without cost sharing.
• Demand that private health insurance schemes provide more data on mental health benefits.
• Evaluate health plans for adequacy of mental health networks and request plans to submit machine-readable files outlining benefits for mental health and substance use disorders.