Obama's 2017 budget highlights healthcare's critical areas
- On Tuesday, President Barack Obama's released the 2017 budget, which the GOP declared dead on arrival.
- The budget includes mulitple healthcare provisions and signals areas of importance in the industry, some of which could appeal to both sides of the aisle.
- According to The New York Times, the budget projects the deficit would increase "in this fiscal year to $616 billion from $503 billion last year" due to many tax cuts the president and Congress made a deal on in December.
The proposal includes a $500 million request for “new mandatory funding” to help assist individuals with mental health issues. The proposed funds would help improve care access by increasing service capacity and the behavioral health workforce. While $500 million is a relatively small amount when the budget is looked at holistically at $4 trillion, the proposed funds signal the importance of adding resources to the behavioral healthcare marketspace.
In addition, the budget intends to extend funding for the National Health Service Corps through 2020 to "increase the number of providers serving in areas across the country that need them most."
The budget proposes a package of reforms that encourage "greater quality and efficiency" in the Medicare Advantage program. "Under the Budget’s proposed competitive bidding system, Medicare Advantage payment rates would be based on plans’ bids, ensuring that plan payments reflect plans’ costs for covering Medicare beneficiaries," the budget noted. The budget estimates the savings related to the Medicare Advantage changes would be about $77 billion.
Twitter became a flutter as news broke that the President had released the 2017 budget. One interesting take from Modern Healthcare's Bob Herman noted the plan signals come changes regarding health costs.
Health insurers likely foaming at the mouth with some of President Obama's budget recs, which signal priorities. https://t.co/I270Kyrqeo— Bob Herman (@MHbherman) February 9, 2016
And Kaiser Family Foundation's Tricia Neuman highlighted the top Medicare savings included in the budget:
The FDA is requesting a total budget of $5.1 billion to protect and promote the public health as part of the budget – an 8% increase over the enacted budget for FY 2016. This includes funding to improve the safety and quality medical products.
The budget also makes a minor adjustment to the Cadillac tax. As reported in Morning Consult, "The budget specifies that in any state where the premium for a gold plan on an exchange would be above the Cadillac tax’s current threshold, the threshold would rise to the amount of the average gold plan’s premium."
As previously reported, the budget includes a $1.1 billion request to curb opioid misuse. "First, it includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use and help ensure that every American who wants treatment can access it and get the help they need," according to a prepared statement. "Second, it includes funding to continue and increase current efforts to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities."
Also no surprise, the budget requests $1 billion for the "cancer moonshot" to "eliminate cancer as we know it. Some critics has previously stated that $1 billion is not enough for such an effort.
The budget now heads to a GOP-led Congress. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers stated, "We will hold extensive oversight hearings and briefings to make informed, thoughtful, line-by-line funding decisions...The President’s final budget unfortunately doesn’t look much different than other years – it is a spending wish list that doesn’t reflect our real budgetary constraints and that would saddle hard-working Americans with additional taxes and fees."
- Morning Consult Budget Contains Partisan and Widely Accepted Health Proposals
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