On Wednesday, February 3, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a list of 134 clinics that were awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grant, expanding the program to now include 340 CCBHCs across 40 states, Guam, and Washington, D.C. These new CCBHCs will join the hundreds that have increased access to critical integrated, evidence-based behavioral health services to those in need. The National Council applauds this effort and thanks SAMHSA and Congress for recognizing the program’s importance and the need to expand access to high-quality mental health and substance use care.
Senate Passes Budget Resolution
Yesterday, the Senate passed a budget resolution, instructing committees to draft a COVID-19 stimulus package. This process, known as reconciliation, will allow leadership to shepherd through a relief package with a simple, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If the House approves of the budget resolution, committees will have until February 16 to pull together the bill – with leadership aiming to get the relief legislation onto President Biden’s desk by March 14. This $1.9 trillion stimulus package is expected to align with President Biden’s COVID-19 plan, which included $4 billion to SAMHSA. Click here for a detailed memorandum on the budget reconciliation process in the coming weeks.
President Biden Signs Executive Order on Healthcare Coverage
President Biden recently signed an executive order (EO) reopening health insurance exchanges, creating a special enrollment period, and directing the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury to reexamine their health coverage-related policies. The EO does not identify specific policies, instead, generally directing agencies to review actions and rules related to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
MACPAC Discusses Recovery Housing Supports, Mental Health Parity
Last week, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) convened for its monthly public meeting. Commissioners reviewed an HHS report to Congress on housing services and supports for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. In response, Commissioners will send a letter to HHS and leadership of relevant congressional committees addressing a potential Medicaid roadmap to outline a coordinated solution on housing supports. Additionally, the meeting covered options for bolstering mental health parity, with Commissioners deciding to follow-up in March on next steps.
Advocacy Tip of the Week: Practice your elevator speech before a meeting with a legislator. You may only have a few minutes with them or their staff to describe your organization and your ask. Remember, you can always follow up with an email with more details after the meeting. Be prepared for a quick exchange!
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
Senate Reaches Power Sharing Agreement. This week, the Senate passed a power sharing agreement, allowing Democrats to control committees and providing for the continuation of the process of confirming Biden Administration Cabinet nominees.