Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021 (S. 2689). This bipartisan legislation would clarify existing law to ensure that the services provided for certain foster children in need of a higher level of care are covered by Medicaid. Please take two minutes today to urge your Senators to support the Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act.
Capitol Hill Update: Budget Resolution and the Infrastructure Package
House Democratic leadership recently outlined the chamber’s schedule – when the House returns on Monday, lawmakers will vote on a rule that will set up debate on the Senate-passed budget resolution and the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
The budget resolution is slated for a final up-or-down vote in the House on Tuesday. The Senate-passed resolution includes a list of policies on health care, education, climate change, tax reform, housing, labor, and more. Some of the policies related to health care include: (1) extending the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Affordable Care Act’s income-based subsidies; (2) addressing the Medicaid coverage gap; (3) expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits; (4) lowering the Medicare eligibility age; (5) expanding Graduate Medical Education slots; (6) funding to support access to primary care; (7) boosting Medicaid home and community-based services; (8) investing in new health equity initiatives; (9) funding for future pandemic preparedness efforts; and (10) a federal paid family and medical leave benefit. Read a breakdown of the budget resolution.
Any policy guidelines accompanying the budget resolution are neither final nor exclusive. Moving forward, Democrats will aim to pass the package via reconciliation, a powerful procedural tool that allows budget bills to move through the Senate via a simple majority and avoid a legislative filibuster. The budget resolution can be a key opportunity to include efforts that bolster mental health and substance use services across the country, including the Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Act, allowing LPCs and MFTs to bill Medicare, and retention bonuses.
The Senate recently passed a version of this package. The package is not expected to be taken up in the House for a vote until later in the fall, following budget reconciliation. The provisions included in this package include roads/bridges, broadband access, water, the power grid, airports, and more.
HHS Announces Rural Health Funding
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it will provide $90 million in funding to support rural communities’ efforts to combat substance use disorders (SUD), as well as improve maternal health and obstetrics care. The SUD awards will be available through two programs: the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation ($78 million) and the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Psychostimulant Support Program ($7.5 million).
Register: The CCBHC Model: How States Increase Access to Mental Health & Substance Use Care
What should state policymakers know about the CCBHC model and its implications for state mental health and substance use treatment delivery systems? Join the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Association of State Medicaid Directors on August 25 from 3-4 pm ET for the release of new state data on CCBHCs’ impact, a discussion of how the model can be tailored to meet each state’s unique needs and considerations and advice from state policymakers who have embarked on CCBHC implementation. Register today!
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Advocacy Leadership Awards. Do you know a health care professional, elected official, or organization that is advancing mental health and substance use care through advocacy? Want to recognize a community champion? Help us recognize individuals and organizations for their success in community, state, and federal advocacy – nominate yourself or someone you know for a 2021 Advocacy Leadership Award.
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
Substance Use Legislation Passes Senate. The Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021 (S. 1046/H.R. 4200) recently passed the Senate – this bill would provide funding for training on substance use and medication-assisted treatment to increase access to MAT within jails and prisons and remove the term “substance abuse” in this grant and replace it with “substance use disorder”.