Congress has reached consensus on the 3rd bill addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. It unanimously passed in the Senate late last night and is expected to move through the House in the coming days. It contains a $2 trillion price tag, which exceeds the annual budget normally appropriated by Congress. Despite its size, there is already discussion regarding the possible need to pass a 4th bill in the weeks to come.
NAATP appreciates the work done to bolster critical healthcare, American businesses, and the economy, especially sections of the bill that will positively impact our members. However, we also hope that Substance Use Disorder treatment will be a larger focus in future legislative fixes. Prior to the current COVID-19 viral outbreak, the only National Health Crisis designated by the White House was Substance Use Disorders related to the ongoing opioid epidemic. The opioid response should continue to be a priority moving forward.
The business loan portion of the 3rd bill could be very helpful, since the amounts businesses use to pay certain expenses to remain operational during this crisis, such as salaries, will be forgiven.
Congress also appropriated $425 million for mental health and SUD treatment, to be funneled through SAMHSA.
Also included in the final bill is NAATP supported language, which moves requirements under 42 CFR part 2 under HIPAA with privacy disclosure related restrictions.
I’ve had feedback from Congressional staff and Members that they heard from NAATP members as this process occurred. As you can imagine, every sector imaginable was attempting to get Congress’ attention during this critical time. Your voices helped us make progress. As we strive to ask Congress and the Administration to focus on SUD, the other ongoing National Health Crisis, your participation will continue to be necessary.