Bill Would Forgive Loans for Mental Health Majors

President Trump’s tagging of opioid addiction as a public health emergency doesn’t bring any specific policies with it. But Congress could consider a couple of changes aimed at making it easier for addicts to get treatment.

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) has co-authored one bill to forgive up to 50-thousand dollars in student loans for people who pursue mental health careers. He says it’s a way to help treatment centers deal with staffing shortages.

A second Donnelly bill would allow county extension offices to serve as hubs for telemedicine. Donnelly says it’s a way for people in rural areas far from treatment facilities to get easier access to the ehlp they need.

Donnelly says he was hoping Trump would declare a national emergency, which would have triggered federal money for the states. But he says the public health emergency is “an important step” — he says a presidential declaration focuses public and government attention on the seriousness of the problem.