Friday, February 19, 2010

$3.8 trillion budget proposal assumes passage of health care reform

On February 1st, the President released his $3.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2011. While the proposed budget focuses on job creation and the economy, it also assumes the federal passage of a health care reform bill in 2010 and the accompanying $150 billion in savings that such a bill would generate over the next 10 years.

Big ticket health care allocations in the proposal include:
• $25 billion: 6-month extension of stimulus funding through June 2011 for state Medicaid funding
• $10 billion: 10-year spending plan to reduce childhood obesity
• $6 billion: 12-month extension of COBRA premium subsidy for those who have lost their jobs during 2010
• $296 million: comparative effectiveness research on best practices for disease treatment and prevention
• $290 million: community health centers
• $188 million: health IT and data improvement
• Additional funding for Veteran’s Affairs medical programs, the Indian Health Service, HIV/AIDS initiatives, and Autism research and treatment

Following the release of the budget proposal, Congress begins the resolution process to establish policies and priorities for 2011. It remains to be seen whether the House and Senate will pass a health care reform bill this year. However, the substantial allocations for health care supported by the President's remark that his proposal "includes funds to lay groundwork for these reforms" may encourage compromise among legislators.

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