Congress Passes 21st Century Cures Bill
$6.3 billion 21st Century Cures Act, which the Senate passed by a vote
of 94 to 5 December 7, includes the most significant mental healthcare
legislation in 20 years. The House passed the bill last week 392-26. It
is headed to President Obama who has said he will sign it into law on
December 13th, 2016.
The mental health provisions of the Cures bill fund suicide-prevention
programs, mental health services for children, and programs for
court-ordered outpatient treatment. It reinforces current laws that
require insurers to treat mental illness as they do any other illness in
terms of benefits. And it creates a new position in the US Department
of Health and Human Services called the Assistant Secretary for Mental
Health and Substance Use for coordinating mental health programs across
the federal government.
Mental health provisions
Among other provisions, the mental health portion of the bill includes: