Congress has returned from a month long August recess and has a full agenda for the rest of the year. Aside from finishing the appropriations process, it is likely Congress will look to pass at least some legislation relating to health care. With an election year looming, many members are looking for wins to present to their constituents.
NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs Department has been working to lay the groundwork for S. 286/H.R. 945, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, to be included in any legislative package that gains momentum.
In addition, the Senate has recently been working on legislation to reduce prescription drug prices and address surprise medical billing. And the Senate Finance Committee has also been exploring policies aimed at improving rural health. S. 286/H.R. 945 fits well into this conversation, as 50% of rural counties in America have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.
NBCC has been emphasizing the rural aspect of this legislation to stakeholders on the committee and in Congress more broadly, in hopes of being included in a large set of bills dealing with rural health. Along with NBCC’s coalition partners in the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition, the Government & Legislative Affairs Department will continue to push for this legislation in this and all similar scenarios.