House Energy and Commerce Committee Marks, Approves Mental Health, ARPA-H Legislation

May 18, House Energy and Commerce Committee Label and advance 6 pieces of legislationincluding the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellbeing Act of 2022 (Human Resources 7666) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act (Human Resources 5585). Previously, the House Energy and Business Health subcommittee voted unanimously to advance both bills in a May 11 markup [refer to Washington Highlights, May 13]. The entire committee allowed the measures to enter the House with a bipartisan vote of 55-0 on HR 7666 and 53-3 on HR 5585.

in his opening remarks, Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (DN.J.) applauded the committee’s bipartisan work on legislation that would authorize and reauthorize key programs in the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. He reflected on proposed amendments to the legislation that would include key provisions of the AAMC-backed Mainstream Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act of 2021 (Human Resources 1384) and the Medicines Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act of 2021 (Human Resources 2067). Pallone emphasized the importance of expanding access and reducing stigma around substance use disorder treatment.

Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) Reflected in The significance of the legislation, noting that it “will reauthorize key federal programs to facilitate access to behavioral health care and comprehensive services for those seeking help to overcome substance use disorders. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the importance of access to these services. In addition, he expressed appreciation for the legislation he initiated, the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Support Services Block Grant Act of 2022, being included in a bipartisan package.

In raising the price, committee members considered several amendments to the legislation. Rep. Paul Tonko (DN.Y.) introduced an amendment containing provisions of the MAT Act that would remove the requirement for healthcare providers to apply to the Drug Enforcement Administration and obtain an X waiver to prescribe buprenorphine therapeutic substances barriers to use. “We live in a country of 40 percent of counties (home to more than 20 million Americans) that lacks a doctor who can prescribe buprenorphine for addiction,” he said. The amendment voted 45 to 10. The roll call vote was approved.

Committee members also considered an amendment proposed by Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), which passed by a 46-8 roll-call vote. The amendment includes provisions of the MATE Act, which requires vendors licensed under state law to prescribe controlled substances, including buprenorphine, to complete at least 8 hours of training in how to effectively manage opioid and other substance use obstacle.

Additionally, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) proposed an amendment inspired by Human Resources 2929, the Virtual Peer Support Act of 2021, which will provide grants to support access to virtual and in-person peer support services. “We know that research and real-world evidence show that working with a trained mental health peer professional in an individual or group setting can provide the support needed to maintain health,” he said. The amendment passed by a roll call vote of 55-1.

The committee considered an amendment proposed by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) that would provide grant funding to states to ensure compliance with federal mental health equity laws. The amendment was adopted by a roll-call vote of 31-24.

In addition, the committee developed and advanced legislation for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect user fees from medical product developers and to develop legislation authorizing the creation of ARPA-H. Food and Drug Amendments of 2022 (Human Resources 7667) was approved by a 55-0 roll call vote. On behalf of Butterfield (D-NC) introduced a legislative amendment based on the Give Kids a Chance Act (Human Resources 5416), which would give the FDA the right to require pediatric investigations of combinations of novel targeted cancer therapies. The amendment was passed by vote.Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) proposed an alternative amendment ARPA-H Act, which defines the scope and mission of the new agency. The amendment passed by a vote, and the underlying legislation passed by a 53-3 roll-call vote.

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