Wyden applauds mental health and other healthcare provisions in year-end funding bill

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued a statement Tuesday after the general text of the bill, which includes a major health care heading, was released.

“These policies will strengthen the American health care system, particularly for children and Americans who struggle to access mental health care,” Wyden said. “On mental health care, I am proud that the bill includes a number of important policies from the bipartisan Finance Committee process, including new benefits that cover therapists on Medicare, mobile crisis intervention units, and funding for train new doctors, including psychiatrists. I am also pleased that the bill includes a start to end reprehensible practices used by insurance companies to limit access to mental health care through ghost nets and similar methods, and I look forward to continuing that work. in the next Congress.

“Beyond mental health care, these policies will make a significant difference in access to health care for families. Because of this bill, nationwide, all children on Medicaid and CHIP (40 million children across the United States) will be guaranteed a full year of coverage when they enroll. The bill makes permanent the ability of states to provide a full year of postpartum coverage to new mothers on Medicaid, and makes investments in critical programs for child health and access to long-term care at home and in community settings. The bill addresses the funding cliff facing the territories, providing long-term certainty for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program and permanent funding for other territories. The bill provides funding and guardrails to support a more stable transition away from the Medicaid coverage requirements that propelled states and families into the heart of the pandemic.

“I am pleased that the bill includes a two-year extension of telehealth flexibilities that are popular with both Americans and health care providers, plus relief for providers as they continue to stabilize following challenges. finances associated with the pandemic.

“Importantly, this package doubles federal funding for the Mother, Infant, and Toddler (MIECHV) Home Visiting Program and reauthorizes the program for five years. This historic investment, which also doubles the tribal home visiting reserve, will ensure that more women and families are served by this bipartisan success story.

“In all, these investments will strengthen America’s health care system at a critical time, and I’m proud that members were able to come together in a bipartisan way to reach this agreement. I look forward to building on this work as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee during the next Congress.”

The package included a number of important items that Wyden has been working on as chair of the Finance Committee that:

  • Makes important improvements to Medicare coverage of mental health services, including new Medicare coverage for therapists and marriage and family counselors, enhanced payment for mobile mental health crisis units, and coverage for intensive outpatient mental health care.
  • Addresses health workforce issues by expanding the Medicare Graduate Medical Education program that helps train physicians-in-residence (for which half of the new funding will go to train psychiatrists) and supports programs of nursing schools.
  • Strengthens Medicaid requirements for health plans and states to publish regularly updated and searchable directories of health care providers in their networks, including providers of mental health and substance use disorder services.
  • It guarantees that all children on Medicaid and CHIP (40 million children nationwide) will have 12 months of continuous, stable coverage when they enroll. This will dramatically reduce gaps in coverage and child care, creating critical stability for your ongoing health needs.
  • Permanently extends an American Rescue Plan policy that allows states to provide 12 months of postpartum coverage to pregnant people on Medicaid and CHIP. To date, 27 states have implemented this important policy to support maternal health. This permanent extension will lock in those gains and encourage more states across the country to adopt this option.
  • Secures 5 years of funding for the Puerto Rico Medicaid program at record funding levels and provides permanent enhanced Medicaid funding for all other territories.
  • Extends telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries that were first expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic for two more years.
  • Provides a five-year investment with historic funding levels for the Mother, Infant and Toddler Home Visiting Program. The policy honors the late Representative Jackie Walorski, who was deeply committed to the success of this program.

You can find more information about the bus bill here.

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