Budget Pushes Health Law Implementation, Provides Some Limited – But Not Easy – Increases
However, news outlets report that funding gains within the Department of Health and Human Services come at a steep price.
The Associated Press: Obama's Health Care Budget: ER Visit But No Cure
Some budget experts said Obama's proposal is only an opening bid. Much bigger health care changes would be in store if lawmakers of both parties agree to work together on a broad plan later this year to reduce government red ink (Alonso-Zaldivar, 2/14).
The Hill: Obama Budget Pushes Health Care Reform Implementation
As Republicans threaten to defund the health care reform law, the White House budget outlines almost a half-billion dollars for its implementation, President Obama's Medicare chief said Monday afternoon. The budget includes $465 million to implement the health care overhaul, including more than $300 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Administrator Don Berwick told reporters (Millman, 2/14).
The New York Times: Obama Proposes Health Agency Cut But Spares Medicare Fees
Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services would decline in 2012 for the first time in the agency's 30-year history under President Obama's budget request (Pear and Harris, 2/14).
The Washington Post: Budget 2012: Health And Human Services
The first sentence of the "funding highlights" in the White House budget document says that the $79.9 billion the president is requesting for Health and Human Services would be "slightly above the 2010 funding level." In fact, as the agency's budget figures show, the proposal would decrease HHS's discretionary funding - the portion Congress allots each year - by $72 million, or 0.9 percent, from fiscal 2010 (Goldstein, 2/14).
National Journal: HHS: Program Increases Come At Steep Price
The Health and Human Services Department would receive $79.9 billion in the president's fiscal 2012 request, an amount that is $400 million lower than the administration's request last year and $1.4 billion less than estimated 2011 expenditures. Funding for several major agencies within HHS is increased, including a $740 million bump for the National Institutes of Health to a total of $32 billion, and the plan would fund the Food and Drug Administration at $2.7 billion, an increase of $147 million over actual spending in fiscal 2010. ... But those increases come with difficult cuts at the agency, including a $2.5 billion reduction in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds (McCarthy, 2/14).
Modern Healthcare: Obama Budget Would Mean Sacrifice For Many Healthcare Sectors
Physicians, hospitals, drugmakers and states would all have to undertake various sorts of belt-tightening under President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2012 budget, administration officials acknowledged. Such sacrifices are required to address the new fiscal realities presented by a looming national debt. "We can't build a future without living in our means," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, at a Monday budget proposal news conference. "In some cases, we cut programs we would not have cut in better fiscal times" (Daly, 2/14).
Reuters: Obama Budget Targets Brand Name Medicines
Big pharmaceutical companies could face increased competition from generic drugmakers under two proposals put forth by the Obama administration on Monday despite earlier savings extracted from drugmakers as part of last year's health care law. President Barack Obama, as part of his 2012 budget proposal, called for cutting the number of years drugmakers could exclusively market brandname biologic drugs to seven years from 12. He also set his sights on ending controversial "pay-for-delay" deals that affect traditional, chemical drugs by giving the U.S. Federal Trade Commission power to block them (Heavey, 2/14).
CQ HealthBeat: NIH Budget Would Bring More Funding, Allow Closer Ties With Drug Makers
President Obama wants to add about $745 million to the National Institutes of Health budget in fiscal 2012 and create an agency that would forge closer private-public relationships with the drug industry. The budget blueprint follows the priorities of NIH Director Francis Collins, who wants the agency to pay for more advanced research that would take the next step beyond basic science and help drug companies more quickly discover drugs that can benefit patients (Adams, 2/14).