Obama 10-Year Budget Blueprint Includes Initiatives For Medicare, Medicaid, FDA

February 26, 2009

By Cassandra A. Soltis & Alan M. Kirschenbaum – 

Today the Obama Administration released a summary of its 10-year budget proposal  entitled “A New Era of Responsibility – Renewing America’s Promise.”  The document provides a high level outline of priorities – details reportedly will be released in April.  For FY 2010, the budget includes $76.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Highlights of the HHS budget include the following:

• Health care reform:  The budget establishes a reserve fund of over $630 billion over 10 years to finance reform of the health care system to bring down costs and expand coverage.  The document acknowledges that this amount is a “down payment,” and additional funding will be needed to expand coverage to the uninsured.

• Lowering drug costs and improving safety of food and medical products:  The budget would establish a new regulatory pathway for generic biologics, and strengthen FDA’s efforts to ensure the safety of food and medical products, including those imported from other countries.  Over $1 billion will be included for FDA’s food safety efforts.

• Federal healthcare program integrity:  The Budget will dedicate additional resources to improve oversight and program integrity of the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid.  The Budget will also “strengthen[] the Medicare program by encouraging high quality and efficient care, and reducing excessive Medicare payments.”

• Medicare and Medicaid research agenda:  New funding will be allocated to demonstration and pilot projects to evaluate payment reforms, ways to provide higher quality care at lower cost, and beneficiary education.

• Comparative effectiveness research:  Building on the $1.1 billion included in the recently passed stimulus bill for comparative effectiveness research, the budget will continue to fund research comparing the effectiveness of medical treatments.  This, combined with electronic health records, will “distill[] all available evidence on the outcomes of different treatment options into user-friendly pop-up alerts for physicians at the point of care.”

• Cancer and AIDS:  Over $6 billion will be allocated to the National Institutes of Health for cancer research to develop innovative diagnostics and treatments for cancer.  Increased resources will also be devoted to the detection, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS. 

Categories: Miscellaneous