Mental Health Bill Would Trim Medicaid Spending

13159715_lDive Brief:

  • The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, H.R. 2646, would reduce net direct Medicaid spending by $5 million from 2017 through 2026, according to a cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • In a Tuesday letter to House Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), CBO Director Keith Hall also said that enacting the measure would not increase net direct spending or budget deficits in any of the four 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
  • Committee members approved the legislation on June 15, setting it up for a vote on the House floor.

Dive Insight:

Among other things, the bill provides for coverage of certain medical services for children and young adults receiving inpatient care in a mental health facility. CBO estimates this provision, Sec. 206, would raise federal spending by about $250 per case per year — or $285 million in 2017-2016.

Sec. 207 requires state Medicaid programs to put in place electronic visit verification (EVV) systems for personal or home healthcare services performed in a person’s home. States that failed to implement an EVV would see their payments reduced.

Enacting Sec. 207 would reduce direct spending by $290 million over the 10-year period, CBO stated.

Two other sections, 201 and 202, would let states continue to provide separate Medicaid payments for mental health and primary care services performed on the same day and be reimbursed for payments to managed care groups for adults in mental institutions. However, these aren’t expected impact the federal budget because they simply codify current policies.

The House could vote on the measure as early as today.


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