H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, Moves to Full Committee
H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, introduced by Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), is being considered by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday, June 15. The bill was the outcome of a multi-year effort led by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to reform the nation’s failing mental health care system. H.R. 2646 passed the Subcommittee on Health by a party line vote in November. The updated draft of the bill released on Friday, June 3, removes many of the contentious provisions from the original bill, including language addressing patient privacy and Medicaid reimbursement for mental health services. Senate mental health reform legislation S.2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is on the legislative calendar and may see a Senate vote in June.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, June 14: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Combatting Superbugs: U.S. Public Health Responses to Antibiotic Resistance.”
- Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will mark up H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, as amended by the Subcommittee on Health.
- Wednesday, June 15: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing titled “Implementing the Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Perspectives on Stakeholders.”
Administration Releases Proposed Rule on Short-Term Health Plans
On Wednesday, June 8, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule limiting short-term health insurance coverage for individuals to three months without renewal, as opposed to one year with a chance to renew. Because short-term health plans are priced according to health status and may discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, they do not meet the requirements set out in the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day comment period followed by a decision from regulators whether to adopt the rule as proposed, make changes based on stakeholder feedback, or discard the proposed rule entirely. In addition to the proposed rule regarding short-term health plans, the Administration also announced several actions to improve Affordable Care Act risk pools, including maturing the risk adjustment program and transitioning consumers to Medicare.