House leaders have scheduled to begin debate on January 18 and hold a vote on January 19 on legislation to repeal the health care reform law enacted in 2010. While the bill is expected to pass the House, it is highly unlikely to advance further due to strong opposition from Senate leaders and the White House.
Beyond the high profile vote, the new House leadership is expected to pursue an effort over the next two years to change the law through various means in the legislative process, from eliminating funding necessary to implement certain provisions to seeking policy changes through separate legislation.
As you know, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) worked hard to ensure that many of psychology’s priorities were enacted within the new law, including:
- Essential plan benefits that include mandatory mental health and substance use services;
- Mental health and substance use parity requirement for exchange plans;
- Within the private health care system, a grant program integrating mental health into primary care with the establishment of interprofessional, interdisciplinary health teams to support primary care practices;
- Chronic care coordination fostered through a Medicaid state plan option allowing beneficiaries with one or more chronic conditions (including mental health disorders) to designate a health home, and permitting the designation of a community mental health center as an eligible health home; and
- Extension of the 5% Medicare psychotherapy payment restoration through the end of 2010.
APAPO advocated strategically for the implementation of these beneficial provisions, and we will do so again to preserve them. This week APAPO joined with allies in the Mental Health Liaison Group to cosign a letter <http://www.mhlg.org/01-13-11.pdf> expressing opposition to full repeal and support for the positive mental health changes found in the enacted law.
As the debate shifts and House leaders zero in on specific aspects of health care policy, we will focus our energies and work with leaders of both parties to protect practitioners and your patients. We will be sure to keep you informed and let you know as your targeted grassroots assistance is needed in the months ahead.
Jeff Cook, J.D.
Director of Field & State Operations
American Psychological Association Practice Organization
750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5875 (Office)
(202) 336-5797 (Fax)
jco…@apa.org (click to verify and reveal email)
Republished with permission: APAPO