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End the duopoly

Huizenga introduces bill aimed at mental healthcare cap in Medicare

Hide caption U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, and his wife, Natalie, listen during an event in Holland in Nov. 2019. Huizenga and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-New York, introduced a bill that would remove the cap on mental health days in Medicare. [Sentinel file] WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House on Tuesday that would remove the lifetime cap on inpatient psychiatric healthcare days for Medicare patients.

Currently, there is a 190-day lifetime limit for using Medicare in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, the facilities that specialize in mental healthcare. Huizenga and Rep. Paul Tonko, D-New York, introduced the Medical Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act to remove the limit.

Huizenga says the 190-day limit creates inequities for individuals who need access to mental healthcare earlier in life.

Over 40 mental health advocacy groups signed a letter of support for the legislation.

“The elimination of the 190-day limit will equalize Medicare mental health coverage with private health insurance coverage, offer beneficiaries the choice of inpatient psychiatric care providers, increase access for the most seriously ill, improve continuity of care and create a more cost-effective Medicare program,” the letter states.

In a statement, Huizenga said increasing access to mental healthcare […]

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