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HHS budget has healthcare 'reserve fund'

Feb. 26, 2009 at 4:49 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. health and human services budget sets up a reserve fund of more than $630 billion over 10 years to finance healthcare reform, the budget document said.

The reserve, designed to lower costs and expand coverage, is funded through new revenue achieved by "rebalancing the tax code so that the wealthiest pay more" and projected savings gained from better efficiency and accountability.

The HHS Department budget of $76.8 billion for fiscal year 2010 is slightly less than the $78.4 billion this year, but the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act includes $22.4 billion for HHS-related spending.

Among other things, the budget would require wealthier senior citizens in the Medicare drug program to pay higher premiums.

The National Institutes of Health would receive $6 billion for cancer research, an amount in addition to the $10 billion provided by the stimulus package.

President Barack Obama's first fiscal blueprint would target more than $1 billion for U.S. Food and Drug Administration food safety efforts to increase and improve inspections, domestic surveillance, lab capacity and response to prevent and control food-borne illness.

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