Current Events Public Policy

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget

How does President Obama propose to change the budget in the coming year?  Here are his key proposals.

  • $500m for mental health. The budget includes $500 million in new mandatory funding to for individuals with serious mental illness.  The funding would be used to support”…additional states in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration; increases access to early intervention programs that address serious mental illness; expands the behavioral health workforce in areas experiencing shortages of providers; prevents suicide; and enhances behavioral health services in Indian Country.”
  • $1 billion to reduce opioid and heroin overuse. The $1 billion in funding is spread out over 2 years and is intended “to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use.”  The program also expands overdose provention programs at the state level and increased access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
  • $1.8b to fight Zika.  This is a call for emergency funding to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus in the US.
  • Cancer moonshot.  The budget has $1 billion of extra funding for cancer research, but Vice President Biden’s biggest impact may be–as AJMC states–if “he gets Medicare contractors to pay for diagnostic tests and end the run-around that patients endure when trying to get leading-edge treatments.  This includes increasing the NIHs budget by $825 million.
  • Cuts to hospital reimbursement.  Unsurprisingly, the AHA is not happy about these.
  • More funding for FDA review of drug safety.  $116m is being earmarked for funding the FDA to measure drug safety of new treatments.
  • Efforts to reduce drug costs being put into place.  As AJMC reports, the budget proposal:

“…calls for cutting drug costs in Medicare Part D and for increased data collection that would tie payment to a drug’s effectiveness. The budget seeks to speed up discounts of brand-name drugs for seniors and address out-of-pocket costs for those in the coverage gap. For Medicaid, the budget calls for a federal-state pool to negotiate high drug costs and boosting the Medicaid rebate formula for new therapies, which are projected to save $11.4 billion over 10 years.”

  • Other initiatives: Obama is calling for a $45 million increase for the BRAIN initiative — the project to map the human brain — as well as an additional $43 million to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Medicare reforms. The Budget includes a program that creates a bonus payment for hospitals that collaborate with certain alternative payment models. The Budget also expands the ability of Medicare Advantage plans to deliver services via telehealth and enable rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers to qualify as originating telehealth sites under Medicare. Finally, the budget proposes a “Medicare Advantage competitive bidding system that reforms payments based on plans’ estimates for beneficiary cost-of-care while preserving access to supplemental benefits and strengthening incentives to provide high quality services.”

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