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Congress Advances Support Act

Just prior to recessing for the Holidays, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives advanced different versions of the Support Act reauthorization which was originally passed five years ago in response to the Opioid crisis. It funded opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, recovery, and enforcement. It allowed states to use Medicaid money for treatment.

The House of Representatives passed their new version of the bill with a bi-partisan 387 to 37 vote. (H.R.4531 - Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act)

It had previously passed out of committee. It not only reauthorized money for the original programs, but it also provides continued coverage for Medicaid individuals who are incarcerated and made positive changes to the IMD exclusion.

In the Senate, the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees both advanced the Senate version of the Support Act.  (S. 3393 SUPPORT Act) The Senate bill provides a seventy percent increase in funding for training of mental health and substance use disorder professionals and a twenty-five percent increase in student loan forgiveness for counselors who practice in underserved areas.

The Senate bill makes changes in how the FDA reviews and approves opioid painkillers. It also requires HHS to study if it’s appropriate to exclude peer support individuals with criminal backgrounds, since some states screen them out. That eliminates a segment of people in recovery.

The next steps will be for the full Senate to consider and pass its version of the Support Act reauthorization and then the two bodies will reconcile the two bills before final passage by both Congressional bodies.

NAATP has been advocating for passage and for many of the components included in both bills. While all our priorities were not included, major advancements were made. We will continue to work with the various congressional leaders as the legislative process continues.

From the NAATP public policy team, we want to wish all our members, associates, and sister organizations a happy and healthy Holiday Season and the very best in 2024. We are grateful for your support and friendship.