Bipartisan legislation that would include licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), as well as licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as Medicare Part B eligible providers has just been introduced in both chambers of the 116th Congress. If you haven’t already, please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support MFTs in Medicare.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY), and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 945, and in the U.S. Senate as S. 286. These bills are identical to those introduced during the last Congress (115th), which would have added LMFTs and LMHCs as Medicare Part B providers if it had passed. Bills that have failed in one Congress can be reintroduced once a new Congress convenes.
The introduction of both bills by the end of January gives us more time to increase support for MFTs in Medicare. This is an improvement from the last Congress, given that the House bill was introduced in June 2017, and the Senate bill wasn’t introduced until September 2017. Despite a later introduction in the 115th Congress, we had record-level support in the House with 74 cosponsors. Most of the cosponsors of MFTs in Medicare legislation were re-elected in the 2018 Midterm Elections, which is promising for continuing to build support for these bills.
Our members are our greatest asset in this endeavor. A strong showing of support from AAMFT members can increase the chance of MFTs in Medicare legislation progressing through the legislative process. Please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 945 and S. 286.