Health

Biden’s budget increases funding for health, pandemic preparedness

President Joe Biden’s proposed budget calls for a 23% funding increase for HHS and urges Congress to act on high drug costs while expanding and improving health coverage.

The 2022 fiscal budget plan repeats Biden’s calls on Congress to pass legislation that would allow the federal government to negotiate for lower prices on Medicare-covered drugs, reducing deductibles in ACA plans, improving Medicare benefits to include dental, auditory and visual, creating a public option, lowering the age of Medicare eligibility and closing the Medicaid coverage gap in non-expanding states.

The question does not specify how much those policies cost or how much you pay for it. The president’s budget is primarily a messaging document that Congress is unlikely to pass at all. But he sets his priorities for his time in office.

Overall, Biden’s proposed budget, which totals $ 6 trillion, calls for a substantial increase in health care spending, a departure from the four years of the Trump administration that sought to cut health care programs.

Under Biden’s budget request, HHS would receive $ 134 billion in discretionary funding, a 23% increase over what Congress approved last year.

“Increased investment supports families in areas such as behavioral health (mental health and substance use), maternal health, emerging threats to health, science, data and research, tribal health, child care and learning, and well-being. of children, ”HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Friday. “To rebuild a prosperous America, we need a healthy America, and President Biden’s balance sheet builds on that vision while investing in the numerous programs hosted on HHS to save lives,” he said.

Biden recommends funding increases for several health programs including those focused on rural health, maternal and child health, mental health, HIV / AIDS and family planning. Its goal is to put HHS in a better position for the next pandemic, recommending $ 905 billion for the National Strategic Stock, an increase of $ 200 million over what Congress approved last year.

The Hospital Preparedness Program, which helps providers prepare for emergencies, will receive $ 292 million under the Biden proposal, an increase of $ 11 million from what Congress approved last year.

HHS will receive an additional $ 17 million to “improve operations and oversight” of the 340B program, an increase of $ 7 million over what Congress approved last year.

The health workforce programs will receive $ 1.3 billion in the Biden budget, including funding boosts for the National Health Services Corps, diversity training programs, workforce development programs for the Biden budget behavioral health and $ 330 million for the teaching of the Graduate Medical Education Health Centers.

The budget request includes several proposals that Biden has already introduced in its so-called employment and family plans, including the permanent extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies to average incomes and $ 400 billion in spending. to expand access to home and community-based services and increase wage benefits. for custodians.

Biden also reiterated his calls on Congress to approve $ 6.5 billion to fund a new health research agency focusing on cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Other items in its budget request that were already announced last month include $ 8.7 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of $ 1.6 billion on that. Congress approved it last year, which would mark the largest increase in funding for the agency in nearly two decades.

The increase would include funding for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program to improve health equity and data collection. NIH would receive additional funding to study the health impacts of climate change, part of HHS’s efforts to advance health equity.

The proposed budget also calls for $ 10.7 billion to tackle the opioid epidemic, an increase of $ 4 billion from what Congress approved last year.

Biden has asked Congress to double the amount it spends on the Community Mental Health Services Scholarship for $ 1.6 billion, citing the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.

The proposed budget will also lead to changing Medicare payments to insurers and providers.

“Evidence shows that we can reform Medicare payments to insurers and certain providers to reduce overpayments and strengthen incentives to provide value-based care, extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, reducing premiums. for beneficiaries and reducing federal costs, ”reads the budget request.


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