Slight HHS budget increase, but cuts too

Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The fiscal year 2013 budget for U.S. Health and Human Services includes spending reductions estimated to save $350 billion over 10 years, officials said.

The HHS budget totals $940.9 billion in outlays -- 56 percent going to Medicare and 30 percent to Medicaid -- and proposes $76.7 billion in discretionary budget authority, 8 percent of the HHS budget.

Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs are cut $364 billion during the next decade by implementing payment innovations and other reforms that encourage efficient care, the department said.

The budget proposal calls for eliminating the Preventive Health and Health Service Block Grant; a $452 million cut in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; a $177 million cut in the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education Payment Program; a $327 million cut in Community Services Block Grants and cuts in an immunization program for low-income and uninsured.

The budget requests $1 billion to set up the Affordable Care Act, an increase of $85 million for Head Start and an additional $2.8 billion in mandatory funds over 10 years for improved outcomes for children in foster care.

Discretionary spending increases include $116 million over FY 2012 for Indian Health Service for a total of $5.5 billion; an increase of $825 million over FY 2012 that will provide child care assistance to 70,000 more children for a total $6 billion for child care for 1.5 million children; an additional $40 million for a total of $826 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's domestic HIV/AIDS prevention activities.

In addition, the budget requests $1.4 billion to help seniors stay in their homes via home-based care, senior nutrition programs and caregiver support programs.

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