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Biden’s Proposed FFY 2025 Budget Seeks Mental Health Access Expansion | Hall Benefits Law

Biden’s Proposed FFY 2025 Budget Seeks Mental Health Access Expansion | Hall Benefits Law

The Biden administration unveiled its FFY 2025 budget, which calls for $7.3 trillion in spending. In the proposed budget, Biden maintains his pledge to focus on expanding and transforming the nation’s mental health system. He cited the need for ensuring access to mental health care amidst a nationwide unprecedented mental health crisis affecting people of all ages. Biden also mentioned his intention to invest in the training of more mental health professionals and expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics across the country.

The 2025 budget asks for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to receive $13.9 billion in total discretionary budget authority for 2025, a 2.3 % increase from the FFY 2023 budget. The DOL is responsible for enforcing laws concerning mental health coverage against employer-sponsored private healthcare plans. These plans cover more than 150 million people nationwide. The amount requested for the DOL in the 2025 budget is less than the amount requested by the Biden administration in its 2022, 2023, or 2024 budgets.

Nonetheless, Biden seeks an increased budget for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in 2025. EBSA is the division of the DOL that directly enforces mental health coverage laws against private health insurers. The increase would come from both discretionary funding, which would constitute about 7.6% increase over the 2023 budget, and mandatory spending of $275 million over the next decade for enforcement of mental health parity laws. However, Congress would have to separately authorize the mandatory spending portion of the funding. Biden has requested this mandatory spending each year since 2023, and thus far, Congress has ignored his requests.

The Biden administration also requested $130.7 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2025, which is a 1.7% increase from the 2023 budget. The HHS also has significant responsibilities in changing mental health care policy and access in the country.

Finally, Biden repeats a previous request for mandatory funding of $125 million from the secretary of health and human services to be used in grants for states over the next decade. These grants would allow states to enforce mental health parity requirements.

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