Late Breaking News
Obama Signs Budgets for Most Health Care and Health Research Agencies
- Categorized in: January 2010
WASHIGNTON, DC—President Obama signed the FY 2010 omnibus appropriations bill last month, which included the budget for most of the nation’s health care and health research agencies. The bill passed through Congress with the votes falling mainly along party lines.
Some of the medically related, politically sensitive areas of the bill include doing away with federal funding for abstinence-only programs. The last budget prepared under President Bush included $99 million for abstinence-only education programs run by public and private groups. Another provision in the bill would ease funding restrictions for needle-exchange programs in an effort to curb the spread of HIV among injection drug users.
A provision to permanently repeal the “global gag rule” was removed during the House and Senate conference committee, when anti-abortion legislators threatened to block the bill’s passage if it was included. The gag rule bans US foreign aid to organizations that offer abortion services and information. Put in place by President Reagan, it was lifted under President Clinton, reinstituted by President Bush, and rescinded yet again by President Obama shortly after he took office January 2009.
For VA, the bill included the budget for FY 2010 and advance funding for FY 2011…a tactic designed to help VA plan its medical service programs farther ahead of time. The bill includes $34.7 billion for medical services for this year. This is a 13% increase over the 2009 estimated expenditure of $30.7 billion. Also included is $4.8 billion in funding for medial facility operation and maintenance, a 6% decrease from 2009. The medical research budget has been increased by 14% to a total of $581 million.
Included for FY 2011 is $37.1 billion for medical expenses—an amount that can be increased through further legislation if VAestimates it will not be enough—and an additional $5.7 billion for medical facilities.
Sen Daniel Akaka, D-Hii, applauded the VA provisions in the bill. “It substantially increases VA’s budget and provides the first appropriation for advance funding of veterans’ health care, which will provide veterans’ hospitals and clinics with the timely and predictable funding they need,” he declared.
The budget for the nation’s premiere medical research agency saw a modest 2.3% increase to a total of $31 billion. However, this does not include the $5 billion appropriated for NIH in Recovery Act funds to be spent by 2011.
Most of the institutes and centers within NIH saw a small budget increase, with the average hovering around 2.5%. The only areas to experience cuts are in administrative areas, such as the Office of the Director and funding for buildings and facilities.
The budgetary authority for SAMHSA was increased to $3.4 billion, a modest increase from last year’s $3.3 billion. A little under $1 billion of that will go to mental health initiatives, with the rest going to substance abuse treatment and prevention.
AHRQ will see an increase from $372 million last year to $397 million in 2010. An additional $1.1 billion in stimulus package funding was allotted to comparative effectiveness research…an initiative spearheaded by AHRQ.
CDC will receive $6.4 billion, an increase of a little over $100 million from FY 2009. This does not include $300 million in stimulus package funding. Most of that increase will be seen in the agency’s efforts to combat infectious disease and in the area of global health.