WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says her $879 billion budget proposal will control healthcare costs and protect public health.
"This budget sends a clear message that we can't afford to wait any longer if we want to get healthcare costs under control and improve our fiscal outlook," Sebelius said Thursday in a news release. "Investing in health reform today will help bring down costs tomorrow and ensure all Americans have access to the quality care they need and deserve."
The department's proposed budget for fiscal year 2010 reflects an estimated $63 billion increase over fiscal year 2009, Sebelius said.
The proposal would establish a reserve fund of $635 billion over 10 years to finance healthcare reform to lower costs, improve quality and assure coverage for all Americans, she said. The reserve would be funded by new revenue and by savings gained from changes to Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The 2010 budget proposal would increase access and improve the quality of care for rural Americans, and asks for more than $1 billion in funding that would increase the number of nurses, doctors and healthcare workers, particularly in areas that are traditionally underserved, she said.
Sebelius said the budget would allocate $584 million to help prepare for and combat pandemic flu and increase funding for the Food and Drug Administration.