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Jun 24, 2022 | Health, In The News

The U.S. House of Representatives on June 22 advanced a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to the U.S. Senate that would reauthorize key federal programs to address the national mental health and substance use disorder crises.

The bill package includes several provisions introduced by U.S. Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Young Kim (R-CA), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).

For instance, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, H.R. 7666, introduced on May 6 by U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), includes the Keeping Incarceration Discharges Streamlined for Children and Accommodating Resources in Education Act or the KIDS CARE Act, H.R. 7233, a bipartisan bill Rep. Hinson cosponsored in March with U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) to expand access to mental health care services in schools.

“Children in this country have been asked to deal with more than they can bear over the past few years,” said Rep. Hinson on Wednesday. “That’s why I helped introduce the bipartisan KIDS CARE Act to help expand access to behavioral and mental health services in schools. I’m proud this legislation, as well as other bipartisan initiatives to combat the overdose crisis and prevent youth suicide, passed the House tonight.”

H.R. 7666 also included two bipartisan bills cosponsored by Rep. Kim: the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act, H.R. 7255, and the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022, H.R. 7073.  

“With over 100 drug overdoses and 132 suicides committed every single day, it’s clear we have reached crisis mental health levels in our communities. Urgent problems require urgent action,” Rep. Kim said. “I’m grateful to my colleagues for coming together in a meaningful way to help address this devastating mental health crisis.”

H.R. 7255, which Rep. Kim introduced on March 28 with bill sponsor Rep. McMorris Rodgers and fellow original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA), would support community-based youth and young adult suicide prevention efforts. 

H.R. 7073, which Rep. Kim introduced on March 15 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), would provide targeted investments to improve outcomes for the screening and treatment of maternal mental health and substance use disorders and create a maternal mental health hotline.   

“I’m proud that the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health Act and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act were included to support some of our most vulnerable, as mental health is the most common complication of pregnancy, and suicide and overdose are leading causes of death for postpartum women,” said Rep. Kim. “I will always fight for the public health and wellbeing of Southern California communities.”  

Two bills cosponsored by Rep. Miller-Meeks also were included in the House-passed H.R. 7666: the Timely Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Act of 2022, H.R. 7238, and the Supporting Children’s Mental Health Care Access Act of 2022, H.R. 7076.

“I am proud to see two of my bipartisan bills pass the House tonight,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “Over the last two years, communities across the country have seen a serious rise in opioid overdoses and a serious decline in the mental health of our students. Sadly, Iowa has been no exception to these crises.” 

H.R. 7238, which Rep. Miller-Meeks introduced with fellow original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Cynthia Axne (D-IA) and bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), would revise opioid treatment program admission criteria to eliminate the requirement that patients have been addicted for at least one year before being admitted for treatment, according to the text of the bill. 

The bipartisan H.R. 7076, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA), would reauthorize funding for children’s mental and behavioral health programs and help address the children’s mental health care crisis exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the congresswoman’s staff.

“Both of my bills, as well as the larger package, will bring immediate help to Iowans in need,” Rep. Miller-Meeks said. “I will continue to work to find solutions for Americans struggling with opioid use disorder and mental health issues and get them the help they need.”

The RIpon Advance

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