Senators Stabenow and Daines: New Comprehensive Approaches to Treating Mental Health and Addiction are Key to Addressing Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

First Finance Health Care Subcommittee Hearing of the Congress Focuses on New Community Services that are Working

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Steve Daines (R-MT) today held a Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee hearing on the growing need for mental health and addiction services during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The hearing brought together witnesses from across the country to discuss how to treat and fund behavioral health.


You can watch Chairwoman Stabenow’s and Ranking Member Daines’ opening statements here. 


“The COVID-19 crisis has shown a spotlight on the urgent and continuing need to fund comprehensive community mental health and addiction services. The good news is that we have a new comprehensive approach that is making a real different for people who need help,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our witnesses emphasized the urgent need to treat health care above the neck the way we treat health care below the neck.”


“In Montana, we have long battled high rates of suicide, depression, and addiction, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these ongoing challenges,” said Senator Daines. “The concerns raised today about the state of mental health in our country underscore the urgent need to prepare for the increased need for behavioral health services caused by the pandemic, reopen our country, and get Montanans back to work and students back to in-person learning. I appreciated our witnesses’ highlighting the need to ensure mental health and addiction services are meeting people where they live, especially in rural states like Montana.”


For years, Chairwoman Stabenow has led the effort to transform the way mental health and addiction treatment services are delivered in communities across the country. In 2014, Chairwoman Stabenow authored and passed her bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act, which created Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. This law created high-quality standards for services and is permanently closing the gap in funding between physical and behavioral health care. We are now funding behavioral health services the same way we fund physical health services through these clinics.


Daines has long called for action to address mental health and addiction service needs in Montana, including leading efforts to support research and development of meth treatment options. In 2019, Daines' bill that helps moms facing substance use challenges stay with their children at treatment facilities was signed into law. The bill, the "Child Protection and Family Support Act," clarifies that foster care can pay for room and board costs for children when they are with their parents in treatment. In 2018, two of Daines’ bills combatting the meth and opioid crises became law to support Tribes dealing with drug issues and combat the trafficking of illegal drugs across borders and through the mail.