Brief Federal Update

March 2, 2021

On Friday, the House passed H.R. 1319, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The bill includes several relevant provisions expected to be passed in the final version, including:

  • SAMHSA Block Grants: Provides $3.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant and the Community Mental Health Services block grant.
  • Mobile Crisis: For a five-year period, the bill permits states to provide bundled payments for community-based mobile crisis intervention services at an 85% FMAP rate.
  • Home and Community-based Services: Provides a one-year FMAP increase for states to make improvements to Medicaid Home and Community-based Services (HCBS).
  • Other SAMHSA Funding: The bill provides nearly $500 million in additional funding for SAMHSA programming including funding for mental health and addiction services, workforce education and training, suicide prevention and public education campaigns.

Additional Key Topics:

  • Medicaid Incentives: Current version provides an incentive for states to expand Medicaid by temporarily increasing the state’s base FMAP for two years for states that newly expand Medicaid.
  • $15 minimum wage still included for now, but likely to be altered, possibly stripped: Despite the Senate Parliamentarian ruling that the wage hike violated budget reconciliation rules, the House kept $15 minimum wage hike in the legislation sent to the Senate. Senate Democrats are said to be exploring a path forward on this provision, and we will continue to monitor the issue.

Next Steps:
The Senate has begun work on its version of the bill with votes expected later this week or early next. Given expected changes, the House will have to consider and vote on the Senate-passed package before it can go to the President for his signature. President Biden and congressional leaders have set a March 14th goal for final passage – the date enhanced unemployment benefits expire.