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Employers lay out mental health policy asks

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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A coalition of employer groups is calling on Congress and other policymakers to take action on behavioral health, ranging from expanding telehealth to boosting provider capacity.

Why it matters: Business groups have sway on Capitol Hill, and lending their voice to mental health issues can help elevate certain needs.

Driving the news: The group Protecting Americans Coverage Together, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other employer groups, released a document outlining mental health reforms that Congress can act on.

  • The proposals include removing barriers to telehealth, like in-person visit requirements, training more mental health providers to address a shortage and better integrating physical and mental health care.

What they're saying: "Employers recognize the growing mental health crisis that we have in the United States," said Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "I think the pandemic certainly brought that to light."

  • He said the proposals are mainly aimed at Congress but that there is a role for the administration and states in some cases, too.
  • Sens. Bernie Sanders and Roger Marshall have a sweeping primary care bill that also seeks to boost behavioral health provider capacity. Asked about that measure, Bradley said the details on "how it's financed" matter but "the goal is certainly one we share."
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