NAMI News

NAMI Celebrates Finalization of FY 2024 Federal Spending Bills, Preservation of Mental Health Funding

3/26/2024

Early on March 23, almost six months into the federal fiscal year (FY), Congress passed final FY 2024 spending bills covering six government agencies, including funding for health and mental health. Earlier in March, a separate bill funding six additional agencies for FY 2024 passed, meaning the federal government is now funded through the end of the current fiscal year ending on September 30, 2024.

In the midst of a mental health crisis, NAMI continues to track federal funding and advocate for more resources from the federal government to help people affected by mental health conditions.

“Our country is experiencing record suicide and overdose rates, and more people than ever are seeking mental health services,” said Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI’s Chief Advocacy Officer. “We are grateful that bipartisan support in Congress preserved mental health funding and look forward to working with Congress to address key areas of need moving forward.”

Mental Health Provisions in FY 2024 Appropriations

Last year, Congress passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which capped federal spending. However, as mental health continues to experience strong bipartisan support, many mental health programs’ funding remained stable, and a few saw modest increases. That means mental health programs fared better than many other areas.

Key FY 2024 highlights include:

  • $2.187 billion for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – a $75 million increase – to advance research into mental illness and discover innovative treatments.
  • $519.6 million for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – an $18 million increase – which builds on the large increase in federal funding for 988 in the previous year.
  • $16.24 billion for the Veterans Affairs Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Programs – a $2 billion increase.
  • $20 million in new funding for the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act, a bill that NAMI advocated strongly to pass to improve law enforcement training programs.
  • A new requirement that states put into place a process to suspend Medicaid benefits for people who become incarcerated, as opposed to terminating benefits, which will help improve connections to services upon reentry for eligible individuals in the eight states that currently terminate benefits.

NAMI has prepared a table that includes more, in-depth comparisons to FY 2023 funding levels for programs and funding changes between FY 2023 and FY 2024.

Looking Forward to FY 2025 Opportunities

NAMI is already looking at FY 2025 funding priorities for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2024. The Biden Administration kicked off the FY 2025 process by releasing the President’s Budget Request for FY 2025 on March 11. Among other requests, the Administration proposed many legislative changes that would have a positive impact on people illness. In particular, NAMI is focused on proposals to:

  • Apply current parity law to the Medicare program to improve access to comprehensive mental health care for the people covered by Medicare.
  • Eliminate Medicare's 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric care, a long-standing discriminatory limit that only exists for psychiatric hospital services.
  • Expand the types of providers who can provide mental health care under Medicare allowing Medicare to identify and designate additional professionals who could enroll in Medicare. 
  • Require Medicare and private insurance to cover three annual mental health wellness visits without cost-sharing, starting in 2026.
  • Improve compliance with mental health and substance use parity standards by requiring health plans to use “medical necessity criteria” to make coverage decisions.
  • Provide $125 million over five years to provide grants to states to enforce mental health and substance use disorder parity requirements.
  • Make the Medicaid Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Demonstration into a permanent program.
  • Require 12 months of Medicaid postpartum coverage, which is currently an optional benefit.
  • Add a new 10 percent set-aside to the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) for prevention and early intervention and increase the crisis services set-aside from 5 percent to 10 percent. 

NAMI looks forward to working with congressional leaders to finalize these proposals to improve the lives of people affected by mental health conditions.