My Take: President Biden’s 2022 Budget
By Randall Rutta, Chief Executive Officer
Last week, President Biden laid out his policy priorities through his 2022 proposed budget. Each year when the President lays out his budgetary priorities for the next fiscal year, it opens a dialogue for investment in our country, including for the health ecosystem that supports the more than 160 million Americans with chronic diseases and disabilities. These Presidential budgets are nonbinding recommendations for Congress as they craft legislation to fund the federal government for the following year. They offer us a glimpse into the President’s priorities including some that may go beyond spending.
The President’s 2022 budget articulates health and related priorities that the National Health Council commends:
- $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $9 billion;
- $6.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration;
- $8.7 billion for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the largest funding boost in 20 years;
- Permanently extending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies that were included in the American Rescue Plan;
- Expansion of Medicaid home and community-based services to help Medicaid beneficiaries get the care they need in a place they want to be;
- Extension of the “Money Follows the Person” program in order to help people live in their communities and get the care they need instead of having to live in a facility to receive care;
- Modernization of the Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics to improve the quality of care for veterans;
- $225 billion for a national paid family medical leave program so that family caregivers don’t need to risk their jobs to take care of loved ones; and
- $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband access to level the playing field and increase access to telehealth for millions in marginalized communities, including rural areas.
From a patient advocate’s perspective, this budget is encouraging as it addresses key steps in promoting national health and well-being. Yet there is much to do to restructure our health care system to one that is responsive and meets the needs of patients.
The NHC supports the President’s charge to Congress to act on increasing coverage for the 31 million Americans who lack health insurance and address the high cost of care. For example, closing the Medicaid coverage gap would help millions of low-income Americans achieve coverage, especially through the allocation of additional funding.
The patient community is essential to this effort and stands ready to work with the Administration and Congress to enact health care reforms that best serve people with chronic diseases and disabilities. We have an opportunity to develop 21st century solutions that have a significant, positive, and immediate impact on the health and lives of all Americans.