PT: Congressional Mental Health Legislation Remains Stalled for Now

According to Politico, Congressional mental health legislation remains stalled although there’s apparently some interest from Senate leaders in trying to make another run. Here’s a brief summary.

Senate

  • The Senate Republican leadership is exploring the possibility of using a fast track measure to move the Mental Health Reform Act bill sponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D) and Bill Cassidy (R) that remains before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee. The bill primarily addresses the mental health workforce shortage, early intervention and opioid abuse.
  • Barriers to passage: even if the bill reaches the floor, controversial gun language and costly Medicaid provisions could prevent passage. The most costly item…altering the IMD exclusion to permit Medicaid funding for psychiatric inpatient services in state and private hospitals…may no longer be a legislative issue as a final rule issued by CMS last month permits Medicaid managed care reimbursement for those staying at such facilities for less than 15 days. See an earlier E news posting sent this morning for more details.
  • Separately, Sens. Chris Murphy and Bill Cassidy announced they will hold a Senate mental health summit on May 26, to continue pushing their bill.

House

Rep. Tim Murphy’s mental health legislation (HR 2646 ) remains stalled in the Energy and Commerce committee due to conflicts over cost and provisions surrounding HIPAA language and assisted outpatient treatment program. Some says that the House is waiting on the Senate to act.