Debt / Economy / Healthcare / Medicaid / Medicare / Tax

The President’s Budget Proposal Clashes with Health Care Priorities

The White House finally released the President’s FY 2014 budget proposal last week. Not only has it garnered the media’s attention due to the fact that President failed to keep his deadline (more than two months late) but also both the Democrats and Republicans are equally unsatisfied with the President’s proposal.

Here are some key healthcare facts in the President’s budget proposal –

  • $80.1 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services – a 14 percent increase from the 2012 budget. for the HHS budget.
    • Investing for administrative tasks such as the ACA implementation, medical research, mental health services, and Head Start programs.
  • $3.1 billion for National Institutes of Health in supporting medical research.
    • A small 1.5 percent increase in its budget from previous years.
  • $1.6 billion for Early Head Start and Child Care to promote high-quality care for low-income children.
  • $130 million initiative to increase mental health services to young people ages 16-25 and to family members.
    • Provide training programs to 5,000 health professionals specifically focusing on the youth.
  • $30 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Reduced funds for immunizations, preparedness, and response work as well as cancer screenings and disease preventions.
  • $821 million for the Food and Drug Administration
    • Improve the safety of food and drug imports.
  • $327 million for family planning.
    •  In order to improve access to reproductive and primary health care services to low-income individuals.
  • $5.2 billion for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    • $1.5 billion of the $5.2 billion will fund for the ACA’s insurance exchanges

To summarize, the President’s health care proposals heavily focus on allocating funds to implement the ACA, improve food and drug safety, and expand mental health programs. However, the budget also freezes spending or cuts key programs for seniors. For example, the President is proposing to limit funds for Meals on Wheels.

The FDA would see an increase of 21% of their budget if this proposal were to pass Congress. Much of this budget increase is from the collected user fees from the medical device and drug taxes. Another key provision in this proposal is that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will see an increase of $3.8 billion to $5.2 billion in their funding, Also, the President proposes a 94 cents-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes. This is projected to raise $1 trillion in revenue.

The President’s budget highlights important issues and attempts to “reduce” the deficit; for example, the President assures the American people that he would protect Medicaid from any budget cuts. However, slowing the growth of Social Security benefits and cutting payments to providers, which impose higher Medicare premiums for retirees will create future problems. These pressures, of course, will affect the seniors and retirees the most.