ONC, AHRQ would see budgets slashed under proposed House spending bill
The House Rules Committee released its combined bill on Wednesday, and the news wasn’t good for the agency in charge of health IT policy.
While the proposed bill provides ample funding for the FDA, both the Office of the National Coordinator and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality would see big cuts if the budget passes Congress.
Under the bill, ONC will receive just $38 million in funding, which is down from the $60 million the agency received last year. The bill stated the funding is designed for “the development and advancement of interoperable health information.” However, it did not provide further details.
The proposed bill also leaves AHRQ with $300 million in funding -- or $34 million less than last year. The future of AHRQ has been debated since Donald Trump took office, as the President’s budget proposed merging the agency with the National Institutes of Health.
The proposed funding -- and the appointment of AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna in May -- might signal that AHRQ will remain an independent agency.
On the other hand, the proposal includes about $5.15 billion in funding for the Food and Drug Administration, which is an additional $500 million for the agency.
The bill stipulates a great portion be directed to user fees: $937 million prescription drugs, $193 million to medical devices, $493 million for human generic drugs and $54 million to biosimilar biological products, among others. Amounts collected through user fees that exceed 2018’s limitations will be credited to the account.
Congress will vote on the bill when it reconvenes next month.