Obama budget tags $1.8B for health IT

HHS budget trimmed from last year's total
By Diana Manos
06:29 AM
President Barack Obama signs copies of the FY 2015 budget

In his $3.9 trillion fiscal year 2015 budget proposal released Tuesday, President Obama asked for $1.8 billion to support health information technology incentive payments — the same amount he requested last year. Actual spending for this category came to $1.07 billion in 2013.

The budget also included $77.1 billion in discretionary funding to support HHS’s mission, $800 million below the 2014-enacted level.

[See also: ONC chiefs compare notes on past decade.]

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According to the administration, the $77.1 billion in base discretionary resources for HHS is intended “to help make coverage affordable, drive down long-term health care costs, and improve care for millions of Americans, as well as to train new health care providers, address public health priorities, assist vulnerable populations, and support medical research.”

Activities HHS will support with the proposed funding include:

  • Improving the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance coverage improvements;
  • Investing in a new initiative to improve access to high-quality health care providers and services;
  • Promoting innovative medical research by providing $30.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, including increased resources for Alzheimer’s disease research and its contribution to the BRAIN initiative; [See also: Obama unveils $100M BRAIN Initiative.]
  • Improving and expanding mental health services for youth and families through the President’s Now is the Time initiative and targeted investments in the Medicaid program;
  • Strengthening national preparedness for naturally occurring and terrorist threats to public health through the development and acquisition of next generation medical countermeasures;
  • Investing in high-quality services for the Nation’s youngest children, with increased funding for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and additional funds to expand evidence- based, voluntary home visiting; and
  • Assisting vulnerable populations by investing in improving outcomes for children in foster care and supporting services for the victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The proposal also intends HHS to use the funding to implement payment innovations and other reforms in Medicare and Medicaid “that encourage high-quality and efficient delivery of health care, improve program integrity, and preserve the fundamental compact with seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income Americans.”

[See also: HHS proposes $967B budget for 2014.]

According to the administration, these improvements will save approximately $402 billion over the next decade.

For FY 2015, the Budget proposes $378 million in mandatory funds for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program and proposes $319 million through discretionary appropriations.

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