Senate Finance Legislation May Expand Mental Health Care

Nov 08, 2023

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), released a set of policies aimed at expanding mental health care under Medicaid and Medicare, in addition to lowering prescription drug cost for seniors. The Chair announced the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, highlighting the committee’s commitment to advancing these bipartisan legislative proposals.

On November 8, 2023, the Senate Finance Committee held a markup to discuss the proposed policies provided in the discussion draft. The Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act would:

  • Expand eligibility for incentives under the Medicare Health Professional Shortage Area Bonus Program to practitioners furnishing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services.
  • Improve access to mental health services under Medicare.
  • Provide Medicare incentives for behavioral health integration and coordination of primary care.
  • Establish an incident to Medicare modifier for telehealth mental health services.
  • Updates provider practices and facilitate accessibility for Medicare beneficiaries with limited English proficiency and/or those who are visually or hearing impaired and seek telehealth mental health services.
  • Ensures timely communication of telehealth and Interstate Licensure requirements under Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Increase mental health and SUD provider capacity through guidance under Medicaid and CHIP.
  • Offer guidance to States on Supporting Mental Health Services and Substance Use Disorder Care for Children and Youth.
  • Extends funding for outreach and assistance for low-income programs.
  • Increase Medicare Improvement Fund from $180 million to $936 million.

ACA will continue to monitor the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act and provide any updates.

For more information and any questions regarding this legislation, please contact ACA Government Affairs & Public Policy team at

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