National Council for Behavioral Health

Skip to content
Find a Provider
The National Council logo
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.

Health Insurance Marketplaces Open for Business as Federal Government Shuts Down

Image related to Health Insurance Marketplaces Open for Business as Federal Government Shuts Down

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Today, the state-based health insurance marketplaces began accepting applications for enrollment, even as the federal government shut down amid a political battle over defunding the very law that established them.

The health insurance marketplaces are one of several coverage expansions included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act and are a critical pathway to coverage for uninsured Americans who do not qualify for Medicaid. October 1 is the start of a 6-month open enrollment period during which consumers can sign up for health insurance coverage through the marketplaces.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Perspective on the 2014 Budget and Government Shutdown Debate

September 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
Image related to Perspective on the 2014 Budget and Government Shutdown Debate

Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

I know that it is sometimes difficult to make sense of all of the news coming out of Washington – particularly this week with the back-and-forth over the 2014 budget, health reform funding, and the likely government shutdown. Here, I will try to provide a straightforward summary of what is going on and what it means. Let’s start with some basics: The federal fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Each year, Congress has the responsibility for approving a budget for the federal government, which is usually done through the passage of 12 appropriation bills.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Recidivism Reduction Act Aims to Speed Reinstatement of Medicaid/SSI upon Release from Incarceration

September 29, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
Image related to Recidivism Reduction Act Aims to Speed Reinstatement of Medicaid/SSI upon Release from Incarceration

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 3123), introduced by Rep. Andre Carson (D-IL) with 8 cosponsors, would quickly restore federal disability and health benefits to eligible individuals after they are released from incarceration. The National Council supports this legislation.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are an estimated 350,000 mentally ill individuals in State and Federal prisons. On average, inmates with mental illnesses serve about 103 months in state prison until their release, compared to 88 months for other inmates.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

National Council Submits Recommendations in Response to Senate Finance Committee Letter

September 29, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
Image related to National Council Submits Recommendations in Response to Senate Finance Committee Letter

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council has developed a letter in response to the recent Senate Finance Committee request for recommendations on how to improve the behavioral healthcare system.
In August, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) published an open call to the behavioral healthcare community requesting input on how to improve the mental health system in the U.S. The Committee asked for input on three key questions:

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Government Teeters on Verge of Shutdown as House Adjusts Obamacare Defunding Strategy

September 29, 2013 | Federal Budget | Comments
Image related to Government Teeters on Verge of Shutdown as House Adjusts Obamacare Defunding Strategy

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Backing down from demands by the chamber’s most conservative members that any continuing budget resolution be tied to defunding the 2010 health reform law, House Republican leaders this week said they would seek instead to link the defunding measure to an upcoming debate over raising the national debt ceiling. The decision came as the Senate […]

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

GAO: Differences in Medicare Contractor Requirements Exacerbate Provider Burden, Inefficiencies

August 30, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
Image related to GAO: Differences in Medicare Contractor Requirements Exacerbate Provider Burden, Inefficiencies

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report highlighting the numerous and varied requirements of Medicare’s contractors for post-payment review, including Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs); Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs); Recovery Auditors (RA); and Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) contractors.

The report, entitled “Medicare Program Integrity: Increasing Consistency of Contractor Requirements May Improve Administrative Efficiency,” found that the extent of CMS’ requirements for the four types of Medicare contractors vary widely,

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

CMS Addresses Overpayments for Services Provided to Incarcerated Beneficiaries

August 27, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a document providing an update on Medicare demand letters and Medicare claim cancellations associated with an item or service provided to incarcerated beneficiaries.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Health Reform’s Network Adequacy Standards: New Report, Hill Day Session Announced

August 27, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The extent to which healthcare services are available to millions of Americans purchasing health insurance through state-based marketplaces under health reform will depend in large part on the adequacy of their health plans’ provider networks. A new report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in partnership with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute sheds light on how states are managing network adequacy issues.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Get Covered America to Hold National Day of Action September 7; Register for CMS Enrollment Webinars

August 27, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
Image related to Get Covered America to Hold National Day of Action September 7; Register for CMS Enrollment Webinars

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On September 7, groups around the country will host events as part of Get Covered America’s National Day of Action. Get Covered America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign of Enroll America focused on raising public awareness and engaging consumers about the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Obama Administration Delays Cap on Out-of-Pocket Costs for Some Insurers

August 22, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
Image related to Obama Administration Delays Cap on Out-of-Pocket Costs for Some Insurers

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Some consumers will not benefit from the health reform law’s caps on out-of-pocket spending until 2015, according to a policy change made quietly by the Obama Administration in February.

The Affordable Care Act contains a number of provisions designed to protect health insurance consumers from catastrophic costs, including a cap on out-of-pocket expenses. Beginning in 2014, the law limits annual deductibles, copayments, and other types of cost sharing to no more than $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Making Sense Of Premium Rates In Insurance Marketplaces

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

One of the biggest questions around the Affordable Care Act’s upcoming coverage expansions is whether the new state-based insurance marketplaces will result in higher or lower premiums for consumers than the options now available to them. Critics of the health law have speculated that the law’s new requirements on insurance products will lead to skyrocketing premiums, while supporters have argued that greater transparency and competition among insurers will lead to big savings for consumers.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

House Votes to Block IRS from Enforcing Health Reform

August 6, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In its last action before a five-week summer recess, the House voted late last week to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from enforcing or carrying out any provision of the Affordable Care Act. Approved in a largely party-line 232-185 vote, the bill, dubbed “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act” (H.R. 2009) now goes to the Senate, where it has virtually no chance of approval.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

House Committee Unanimously Approves Medicare Physician Pay Reform

August 1, 2013 | Medicare | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The House Energy & Commerce Committee this week unanimously passed legislation to reform and repeal the Medicare physician Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. This formula requires yearly adjustments to physician pay to bring it into line with an approved formula for sustainability; however, in practice it has resulted in large potential cuts that Congress overrides each year. Physicians and Medicare advocates have long urged a permanent fix for the SGR, but Congress to date has not been able to agree on how to offset the expense.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 1. Are you ready?

Image related to Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 1. Are you ready?

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

October 1, 2013 is the start of open enrollment in health insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion. It’s also when many of the consumers that your organization serves will become eligible for one of these new coverage options.

Are you ready? Are they ready?

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

National Council Submits Comments on Opioid Treatment Programs

July 25, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In response to SAMHSA’s recently released draft Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment 2013, the National Council has submitted comments to the agency commending its focus on recovery-oriented systems of care and the role of telemedicine in expanding access to care. Our comments also urge SAMHSA to make the guidelines more inclusive of extended-release injectable naltrexone and to encourage staff in opioid treatment settings to be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference

Image related to White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On July 11, the White House hosted the first-ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference. The event brought together Administration leaders, Veteran Service Organizations, military service organizations, mental health professionals, and leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs to discuss issues related to expanding access to mental healthcare for veterans and military families.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

MITECH Bill Extends Health IT Incentive Payments to Safety Net Clinics

Image related to MITECH Bill Extends Health IT Incentive Payments to Safety Net Clinics

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation introduced this month in the House and Senate would make federal incentive payments for the use of health IT widely available to a variety of healthcare safety net providers, including community behavioral health centers.

The legislation is known as MITECH, the Medicaid Information Technology to Enhance Community Health (MITECH) Act (S. 1286/H.R. 2676).

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

On a personal note: Why I became a behavioral health advocate

July 17, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
Image related to On a personal note: Why I became a behavioral health advocate

Chuck Ingoglia

, National Council for Behavioral Health

As the National Council’s Hill Day approaches, we’ve been posting about our great speaker line-up and the important behavioral health legislation that you’ll be talking about with your Members of Congress.

But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on why advocacy is important – and in particular, to tell you about a moment that shaped me.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

National Council Launches Op-Ed Campaign to Build Support for Excellence in Mental Health Act

Image related to National Council Launches Op-Ed Campaign to Build Support for Excellence in Mental Health Act

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council this week launched a new campaign to raise the profile of the Excellence in Mental Health Act and build congressional support for its passage. Please participate by using this template to submit an op-ed to your local newspapers!

Media coverage is essential to our success because it raises the bill’s profile and highlights the broad support for it in legislators’ home districts. This is especially true of local press and op-eds, which are influential with legislators and lay the groundwork for much of the advocacy we are doing on Capitol Hill.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

What do Medicaid payment rates, Congress, and a pep rally have in common?

July 10, 2013 | Hill Day | Comments
Image related to What do Medicaid payment rates, Congress, and a pep rally have in common?

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

You may be aware that community behavioral health organizations get paid, on average, only 70% of the cost of providing intensive community-based care.

But did you know that legislation before Congress would fix this inequity, raising Medicaid reimbursement rates for organizations that meet specified criteria? The Excellence in Mental Health Act would put behavioral health providers on equal footing with other safety net entities like community health centers and public hospitals, a long-overdue change.

Read More   View Comments

Share on LinkedIn
1 43 44 45 46 47