Alexandria, VA – October 29, 2009 – This morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined by members of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced the Affordable Health Care for America Act, known as H.R. 3962. This legislation promotes prevention and wellness; eliminates insurers’ ability to discriminate against health care insurance consumers on account of pre-existing conditions, race, gender, occupation, and health status; expands health care access to over 36 million currently uninsured Americans, and strengthens Medicare.
AMHCA is grateful to House members for putting forth a bill that expands Medicare’s pool of outpatient mental health providers to include licensed mental health counselors. A great share of licensed mental health counselors practice in areas not served by currently eligible Medicare providers. Section 1308 of H.R. 3962 promises mental health access to senior citizens residing in areas currently not served by clinical social workers and psychologists. AMHCA commends Representative Bart Gordon (TN-D) for introducing H.R. 1693, the Medicare eligibility bill for licensed mental health counselors. It also lauds the House Tri-Committee leadership for championing inclusion of this important bill in the House’s overall health care reform bill, H.R. 3962. AMHCA encourages its members to go to www.house.gov, find their U.S. Representative, and thank him or her for making Medicare eligibility of licensed mental health counselors part of H.R. 3962. Additionally, AMHCA urges its members to ask that their U.S. Representatives continue to support Section 1308 of H.R. 3962 and vote YES for H.R. 3962.
The Senate has not yet introduced a final health care reform bill. Time is of the essence for AMHCA members to contact their U.S. Senators and push for their inclusion of S. 671, Senator Lincoln’s bill for Medicare eligibility of licensed mental health counselors, in the Senate’s final bill. Go to www.senate.gov to locate the contact information for your U.S. Senators. In the next few days, it’s crucial that AMHCA members telephone and email their U.S. Senators and let them know how important Medicare eligibility of licensed mental health counselors is to ensuring better health care for Americans.
- Ask your Senator if he/she will champion S.671 inclusion in the Senate health care reform bill by signing on as a cosponsor.
- Let your U.S. Senators know this important prevention, wellness, and access provision has been included in H.R. 3962 and must be included in any final legislation sent to President Obama for a signature.
Inclusion of H.R. 1693 in the House’s health care bill, H.R. 3962, can be attributed in no small part to the numerous interactions AMHCA members have had with their legislators over the past eight months. AMHCA thanks its members for the great advocacy work they continue to do for the advancement of the mental health counseling profession and patients in need of the profession’s services. AMHCA now solicits its members’ imminent help in championing inclusion of licensed mental health care counselor Medicare eligibility in the Senate bill.
Contact Julie A. Clements, J.D., AMHCA Director of Legislative Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-326-2642 if you have further inquiries.