BPC Action commends Senate HELP Committee leadership for their steadfast commitment to pursuing bipartisan solutions to the behavioral health and opioid crises facing the nation. BPC Action encourages all members to continue with this cross-party collaboration in passing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act. This reauthorization marks an important moment in the ongoing federal effort to combat the opioid epidemic. 

For years, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has been developing policy solutions to improve the federal response to the nation’s behavioral health and substance use disorder crises. BPC’s work so far has focused on optimizing federal spending pertaining to the opioid crisis, strengthening behavioral health integration with primary care, leveraging telehealth services to address behavioral health and substance use disorder, and establishing the nation’s mental health crisis response system.  

Earlier this year, BPC released an issue brief outlining four major policy areas for Congress’ consideration in reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act: enhancing community-based programs; maintaining Medicaid coverage for high needs patients; updating behavioral health metrics; and improving workforce capacity.  

BPC Action is pleased to see that the legislation currently being considered by the Senate HELP Committee includes bipartisan priorities linked to each of these four areas, and we urge the committee to also consider adding the following BPC policy recommendations to the bill: 

  • Integrate demonstration grants to strengthen community-based addiction services at no additional cost to maximize whole-of-government resources. 
  • Populate the special registration for teleprescribing of controlled substances with data from the Prescription Drug Management Program (PDMP) to ensure there is a data reporting system while avoiding additional administrative burden. 
  • Expand the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) to cover Medicare and Medicaid Advantage beneficiaries and fund parity enforcement for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans. 
  • Include provisions from the Providing Empathetic and Effective Recovery (PEER) Support Act, such as provisions to research states’ screening processes for prospective peer specialists with past interactions with law enforcement and to recognize peer specialists as a profession. 

BPC Action applauds the committee for assembling this critical legislation that will bolster the federal response to the opioid crisis. We appreciate your leadership on this issue and look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to enact these vital policies. 

Read the full letter to committee leadership here.