Bipartisan legislation that would include licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), as well as licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), as Medicare providers has just been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please contact your Members of Congress now and ask them to support MFTs as Medicare providers.
A new Congress, the 117th Congress, convened on January 3. On January 21, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2021, HR 432, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Representative John Katko (R-NY). This bipartisan legislation would require Medicare to finally recognize LMFTs and LMHCs as Medicare-eligible providers of covered behavioral health services to Seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries.
AAMFT would like to thank Representatives Thompson and Katko for their past and current support for this legislation and their efforts in advocating for MFTs as Medicare providers. Please read their press release on HR 432 for additional information on this legislation and powerful words of support for this legislation by Rep. Thompson and Rep. Katko.
This bill is identical to bills introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 945) and the Senate (S 286) in the last Congress, the 116th Congress (2019-2020). Last year, HR 945 passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any opposition. This prior bill had a total of 123 Members of Congress who cosponsored this bill, which is a record level of support for any MFTs in Medicare bill.
The first step in moving this legislation through Congress is encouraging Members of Congress to cosponsor this bill. Although lobbyists for AAMFT and other associations who support this legislation will be urging Congresspersons to cosponsor this bill, it is absolutely essential that Members of Congress hear from you, as a constituent, that you support including MFTs as Medicare providers. Having a large number of cosponsors early in the 117th Congress makes it more likely that the House of Representatives will take up this legislation.
The introduction of this bill is the earliest date that an MFTs in Medicare bill has been introduced by a new Congress. This early introduction of HR 432 allows AAMFT and its allies more time to recruit support for this legislation.
Regarding the U.S. Senate, as most of you know, the Senate has just undergone a change in control from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Senate is also preparing for an upcoming trial. The Senate companion bill to HR 432 is expected to be introduced within the coming weeks.
Do you have family, friends or colleagues in other professions who want to support this legislation? AAMFT has created a friends and family grassroots message that they can send to their Member of Congress to advocate for this important information.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Additional resources on MFTs in Medicare