Grassroots Action Center


President's Proposed Budget Supports Inclusion of Counselors in Medicare!
April 13, 2022 by NBCC Government Affairs

On March 29, 2022, the White House released President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023. The president's budget serves as a recommendation to Congress and is a way that the White House can share policy priorities for the coming year. On the topic of mental health, the president’s budget seeks to strengthen access to behavioral health care by investing in workforce development and service expansion; enhancing enforcement of the parity requirements; expanding coverage under Medicare and private insurance by requiring coverage of specific behavioral health services; and improving access under Medicaid through build-outs of existing programs.  

This year the budget includes a recommendation to allow mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to bill Medicare for provision of mental health services. This is the first time that a president’s budget has made the specific recommendation to Congress to allow Medicare to reimburse the two professions. This is a clear indication it is time to pass S. 828/H.R. 432, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. NBCC is collaborating with members of the Medicare Mental Health Workforce Coalition to build support for these bills. Please go to the Grassroots Medicare Action Campaign to ask your representatives to co-sponsor and/or support this important legislation. 

President Biden’s budget also included several other important recommendations including: 

  • establishing a new mental health system transformation fund to increase access to mental health services through workforce development and service expansion.
  • permanently extending funding for Community Mental Health Centers.
  • supporting increased training in mental health for school personnel.
  • requiring major health insurance coverage programs to cover three behavioral health visits per year without cost-sharing.
  • eliminating the 190-day lifetime limit on psychiatric services under Medicare

 

For further details, read the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget in Brief.

The proposed budget signals the need for investment into mental health services. Congress will now consider the budget’s components as part of its appropriations process over the coming months. As the nation continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for increased mental health services will only become more evident. NBCC will continue to monitor developments around the president’s budget and advocate for policies that will increase access to care for all. 

 

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