Senate Commerce Committee Will Continue to Study SB 70, Dealing with NH’s Ongoing Children’s Mental

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 271-3207

Email: marina.altschiller@leg.state.nh.us

CONCORD – Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee voted unanimously to refer SB 70 to Interim Study, which will allow the Committee to continue their work on this important legislation. SB 70, which was introduced by Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye) last year, seeks to address the shortcomings in insurance coverage of children’s mental health services that were brought to light during the pandemic.


Senators Tom Sherman (D-Rye) and Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) issued the following statements in response to the vote:


“I am pleased that the Senate Commerce Committee is going to continue their important conversation around the state’s current children’s mental health crisis,” said Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye). “As we continue to work toward solutions for New Hampshire children and their families, we need to continue to keep pressure on commercial insurance carriers to ensure that children in mental health crises in emergency rooms across the state are fully supported.


I was proud to bring forward a bipartisan amendment which incorporated feedback received at the bill’s public hearing last year. It would also ensure that children insured by commercial insurance carriers are guaranteed the same level of comprehensive wraparound care as those covered by Medicaid. Additionally, my amendment would ensure that children are able to receive the care they need as soon as they seek it without being hamstrung by the prior authorization process.


The Commerce committee expressed their unanimous support for the amendment, but we all agreed that we did not want to jeopardize the ongoing work being done by stakeholders to resolve the issue with a non-legislative solution. By voting to refer the bill to Interim Study, the language will remain alive in case it is needed during the next legislative session to ensure that when children are brave enough to ask for help, they get the comprehensive care they need, when they need it.”


“As legislative leaders, there is nothing more important for us to prioritize than the safety and wellbeing of the children of this state,” added Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton). “I applaud Senator Sherman’s amendment, as well as the Commerce Committee’s commitment to continuing their work on this issue. I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that all children who are experiencing a mental health crisis have the same access to critical and lifesaving care, regardless of their insurance carrier.”


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