Proposal expands Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment

Proposal expands Medicaid coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment
Posted on Jan 03 2024
WHIO

As cities from coast-to-coast grapple with addiction and homelessness, there is now a push in Congress to expand access to mental health treatment for low-income people. “We hear from families everyday who have a loved one who’s in a mental health crisis and there’s no bed available,” said Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO. “There’s no place for them to get in-patient care.” That’s in large part because of a 1965 law that banned federal money from paying for mental health treatment in a hospital with more than 16 beds. “If somebody is in crisis, they go to an ER. There’s no bed available. Often, they’re discharged back on to the street. How is that helping the person and how is that improving the community?” said Wesolowski. Last month, the House overwhelmingly passed a measure to change the nearly 60-year-old rule. A similar measure is being considered in the Senate. “It’s the only piece of Medicaid law that restricts the type of care based on a person’s illness,” said Wesolowski