Bill seeks to improve mental health care in Michigan


A bill aimed at increasing access to mental-health care in Michigan could go to a vote on the Michigan House floor at any time.

The bill was introduced in 2023 by state Representative Felicia Brabec, who is a clinical psychologist. She says HB 4707 prioritizes treatment recommendations for mental health and substance use patients, instead of allowing only insurance companies to make decisions for an individual’s care. It would also enable insurance companies to find an out-of-network option if an in-network option is unavailable, and without extra costs to the patient

“The insurance companies have their own proprietary criteria when they are making the decisions about should people have access to services or not, and I think that they should use the same critical criteria that we do,” Brabec said. “Like if a doctor says, ‘This is what’s necessary for a client,’ then that should be attended to.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has spent more than $75 million in lobbying efforts over the last two decades. In an email statement, the company said it opposes the legislation, but remains “committed to working with policymakers to find innovative solutions that address the hurdles Michiganders face to get the behavioral healthcare they need and improve overall health outcomes.”

Advocates of HB 4707 say it would reduce costly emergency room and hospital visits, thereby lowering the overall cost of care and helping get people treatment more efficiently.