October 6, 2022
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.7780, the Mental Health Matters Act.
The legislation would require certain federal actions to increase mental and behavioral health care. Among other provisions, the bill would create various grants to increase the number of school-based mental health services providers, establish requirements for institutions of higher education concerning students with disabilities, prohibit arbitration and discretionary clauses in employer-sponsored benefits plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and establish an occupational research program on mental health.
The bill was first introduced in the House on May 16, 2022 by primary sponsor Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and was passed in the House by a vote of 220 in favor and 205 opposed on September 29, 2022.
One major provision of this bill is the Strengthening Behavioral Health Benefits Act (Title VI), which would "Provide civil monetary penalty authority to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), which required insurers to cover mental health and addiction treatment no more restrictively than treatment for physical health," as reported on thekennedyforum.com.