House Leader: Murphy Mental Health Bill to Get July Vote, Focus Will Turn Next to the Senate

NYAPRS Note: While it’s very important to let House members and leaders about shared opposition to Rep. Tim Murphy’s mental health legislation prior to next month’s vote, it is critical to let Senate members and leaders know what we and don’t want in their legislation, as the Senate will likely have the last word on how a 2016 Congressional mental health bill will look. We’ll offer some suggested talking points shortly.

Delayed Mental Health Legislation To Get July Vote

By Heather Caspi Healthcare Dive June 28, 2016

Dive Brief:

The House is slated to vote on a long-awaited mental health reform bill after its July 4th recess, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced.

The legislation from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) had been stalled for years but, but after major changes, was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month.

The move comes as the Senate also attempts to move forward on another mental health reform bill from Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), which has been stuck on the matter of gun politics.

Dive Insight:

The House legislation moved out of committee thanks to scaling back many of its most broad and expensive provisions, The Hill reported. However, some Democrats say it doesn't go far enough without providing major new funding. Murphy has suggested funding is likely to be allocated through the next appropriations process.

The bill would create a new position in the Department of Health and Human Services for a physician to serve as an assistant secretary charged with overseeing mental health and substance abuse programs.

Its measures would also authorize grants for innovative treatment programs, would address privacy regulations to ease information sharing with caregivers, and would allow Medicaid to cover more mental healthcare.