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House Passes Huge Health Spending Bill

Capitol Connector
Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Passes Huge Health Spending Bill

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On Wednesday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan “minibus” package for fiscal year 2019 Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) appropriations bills, which include funding for federal mental health and addiction programs. Notably, the bill (H.R. 6157) would increase funding for some mental health and addiction programs as well as provide around $3.8 billion to specifically to address the opioid addiction crisis. The “minibus” also included a stopgap spending measure to fund the rest of the government into early December. With the Senate having passed the bill last week, the bill now heads to President Trump, who has said that he will sign the measure by September 30th to avert a government shutdown.

SUMMARY

The Defense-Labor-HHS minibus provides the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with a $2.3 billion increase in discretionary spending (compared to FY 2018), bringing HHS’s total discretionary health spending to approximately $90.5 billion. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive substantial funding increases. With continued Congressional attention on the opioid crisis, the minibus includes around $3.8 billion, an increase of over $206 million, for activities intended to curb opioid use and addiction. See our earlier Capitol Connector coverage for a list of targeted opioid activities and funding levels.

Specific funding levels for key behavioral health agencies and programs are detailed below:

Agency/Program FY 2019 Funding FY 2019 vs FY 2018
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration $5.7 billion +$580 million
Mental Health Block Grant $722.5 million Level funding
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block (SAPT) Grant $1.9 billion Level funding
Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration $49.9 million Level funding
Mental Health First Aid $21 million +$1 million
State Opioid Response Grants $1.5 billion Level funding ($500 million replaces funding for the Opioid State Targeted (STR) grants)
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) Expansion Grants $150 million +$50 million
National Institutes of Health $39 billion +$2 billion

WHAT’S NEXT?

Once President Trump signs the Defense-Labor-HHS package, federal health spending fiscal year 2019 will be set. The package will also fund federal agencies that do not yet have an enacted FY 19 appropriations bill in place through December 7th. The federal 2019 fiscal year begins on October 1, 2018.

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