KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Doctors, Advocates Worry New Gun Rule May Exacerbate Mental Health Stigma

Some are concerned that President Barack Obama's new FBI reporting regulation, a measure that is part of his efforts to curb gun violence, has escalated tensions on Capitol Hill surrounding mental health legislation and could reinforce stigma around receiving treatment. Meanwhile, lawmakers have proposed a bipartisan bill expanding a 2014 law to create community mental health clinics.

The New York Times: Under Gun Rules, F.B.I. Will Receive Health Data
Responding to Republicans who have repeatedly tied gun violence to mental health issues, President Obama’s new gun control plan will allow state agencies and the Social Security Administration to provide certain “protected health information” to the F.B.I. to help crack down on weapons sales to people who pose a danger to themselves or others or are unable to manage their own affairs. ... The Obama administration said the final rule “balances public safety goals with important patient privacy interests.” Many mental health professionals agree. But some doctors and lawyers said the rule could add to the stigma of mental illness and deter people from seeking treatment. (Pear, 1/6)

Modern Healthcare: HIPAA Rule Change Part Of Move To Fight Gun Violence
Only a few healthcare organizations report to the federal database that conducts background searches on people who want to buy guns, but those groups will get a little more latitude through a final HHS rule that's part of a White House package announced this week aimed at combating gun violence. (Conn, 1/6)

The Washington Post: Mental Health Legislation Complicated By Gun Control Debate
For a long time, the Republican response to more gun control was to double down on calls for better mental-health services to catch disturbed shooters who shouldn’t have access to guns. But the renewed focus on gun control in the wake of President Obama’s proposals may just exacerbate existing tensions on mental-health efforts that advocates hoped would gain momentum in 2016. (Demirjian, 1/6)

The Hill: Lawmakers Propose Bipartisan Bill To Boost Mental Health Funding
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Wednesday announced they are introducing a bipartisan bill to increase funding for community mental health clinics. The bill would expand on a 2014 law that provides funding for a trial program for eight states to create community mental health centers. The centers are to offer services such as 24-hour crisis psychiatric care. The bill announced Wednesday expands on this effort by providing funding for 24 states to have the new clinics, an increase from the eight states designated in the 2014 law. While the bill is still being finalized, Stabenow’s office said it expects the measure to provide around $1.7 billion in new funding. (Sullivan, 1/6)

In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee follows the president's lead —

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