Katko-Authored Bills Aimed at Expanding Access to Mental Healthcare Advance to House Floor

September 10, 2020
Press Release

SYRACUSE, NY— U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today announced the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has advanced two bills he authored out of Committee. The Mental Health Services for Students Act and Mental Health Improvement Act will now head to the House floor for consideration. Rep. Katko released the following statement:

“As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, I’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans to increase access to quality mental healthcare, reduce the stigma associated with seeking treatment, and combat the rising rates of suicide. In a continuation of these efforts, I introduced the Mental Health Services for Students Act, bipartisan legislation that funds mental health services for students. I also introduced the Mental Health Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill that increases the number of mental health providers within Medicare. Today, I’m pleased to report the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has approved both of these measures.

“Statistics on mental health during the ongoing pandemic have been heartbreaking and underscore the need for Congressional action. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that 43 percent of seniors experienced loneliness and according to the CDC, 25 percent of young adults have contemplated suicide during this time. To provide immediate support, I urge Congressional Leaders to swiftly bring my bipartisan legislation to the House floor. Together, these bills will take meaningful steps to improve access to mental healthcare for children and seniors, at a time when these services are needed most.”

Summaries of the bills can be found below:

H.R. 1109, The Mental Health Services for Students Act: This legislation funds on-site mental health services for youth in schools nationwide. Rep. Katko introduced the measure alongside U.S. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D, CA-32).

H.R. 945, Mental Health Improvement Act: This legislation adds licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to Medicare’s network of eligible service providers.  Currently, these providers are not able to bill Medicare for their services, despite providing care to seniors and individuals with disabilities. Rep. Katko introduced the measure alongside U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D, CA-05).