H.R. 945, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, has passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and could be brought to the floor for a full House vote soon. On Sept. 9, the Committee held a markup to consider 38 bills, with H.R. 945 being one of them. The bill was passed out of the Committee by a voice vote, with several members of the committee expressing their deep support of the legislation.
“This is the first time in 11 years that our Medicare bill has passed through a committee markup in either the House or Senate,” said Jake Jackson, NBCC’s Manager of Government Affairs. “It’s a major accomplishment.” Now that the bill has passed through the Committee markup, House leadership will decide if and when it will come to the floor for a vote.
Congress left for recess on Oct. 12 and won’t return until after the November elections. When they return, lawmakers will focus on a package to keep the government open beyond Dec. 11 and ultimately for the rest of FY21. NBCC’s Government and Legislative Affairs Department will continue to push for the bill to be included in that legislative vehicle if possible. We will also be working to lay the groundwork for continued success in the 117th Congress, which will begin in January 2021.
NBCC has worked closely with the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition for many years on this legislation and would like to thank all of our coalition partners for their dedication. We would also like to thank the thousands of board certified counselors who have written, emailed, called, and met with their legislators to advocate for this legislation. This grassroots activity is the most important aspect of our work in the Government and Legislative Affairs Department. We appreciate your continued work and support, and we will continue to work now and in the future to see this bill passed!