Reporters Dig Into Obama Budget and Find Other
Proposals that May Impact Seniors
More spending on Medicaid, mental health; replacing
current formula for Medicare pay to doctors
April 11, 2013 – Senior citizens have – rightly so
– primarily focused on the cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the
2014 budget proposal from the White House that was presented yesterday.
Media sources have found other parts of the budget that may also impact
many seniors - funding boosts for mental health and food and drug
safety, as well as the elimination of the SGR formula to set Medicare
physician payment rates. It also delays funding cuts to hospitals that
treat the uninsured.
Medscape: Obama Budget
Replaces Sequester Cuts And SGR
President Barack Obama today released a proposed
$3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2014 that would shrink the federal
deficit by $1.8 trillion over the course of 10 years, but not on the
backs of physicians. Instead, they are on the receiving end of some
For starters, Obama's deficit reduction, similar to
that in the budget plan approved on March 23 by the
Democratic-controlled Senate, would replace the automatic,
across-the-board cuts called sequestration that include a 2% decrease in
Medicare reimbursement for physicians (Lowes, 4/10).
The Obama administration released its fiscal year
2014 budget proposal Wednesday, trimming nearly $400 billion over 10
years from Medicare as expected. … The $967 billion proposed for the
overall HHS budget, however, is larger than the $848.2 billion actually
spent in FY 2012 and the $907.8 billion estimated for FY 2013. Medicare
would eat up 54 percent -- about $522 billion -- of the amount proposed
for next year, while 31 percent would go to Medicaid, with the remainder
spent on other programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy
Families (Frieden, 4/10).
Most media reports say focus of White House is to
strike a ‘Grand Bargain’ with Republicans who want to change Medicare
into a voucher-style system; Medicare proposal has one revenue
item - higher premiums for couples making more than $170,000 a year
President Barack Obama's highly anticipated fiscal
2014 budget (PDF) released Wednesday proposes $5.6 billion in Medicare
payment cuts for that year and about $400 billion in total federal
healthcare savings over the next decade.
In a news conference at the White House, the
president called his budget—which aims to reduce the deficit by nearly
$1.8 trillion over 10 years and would eliminate the sequester cuts—“a
fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth” (Daly
and Zigmond, 4/10).
The White House wants to reverse $500 million in
cuts to the Medicaid program meant to start in 2014, aiming to ensure
that states have adequate funds to assist those that remain uninsured
under the Affordable Care Act. A bit of history is helpful here. For
decades now, Medicaid has sent states billions of dollars in something
called Disproportionate Share, or DSH, payments. These funds, which
totaled $11.3 billion in 2011, go to the hospitals that provide a higher
level of uncompensated care and are meant to help offset the bills of
the uninsured (Kliff, 4/10).
Key Links on
President Obama’s Proposed 2014 Budget
The Obama administration is proposing to increase
spending for mental health programs and the children's Head Start
program while cutting funding for low-income energy assistance and
community service grants.
The 2014 budget for the Department of Health and
Human Services released Wednesday totals $80.1 billion, about $4 billion
above the enacted budget for fiscal year 2012. It calls for $1.5 billion
for the government to build an insurance exchange that will allow
certain Americans to shop for health insurance, HHS Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius said Wednesday. The federal exchange is targeted to begin
operating Oct. 1. and sell insurance coverage that kicks in Jan. 1
(Dooren and Burton, 4/10).
Reuters: Health Budget
Spends On Mental Health; Cuts Medicare
President Barack Obama's proposed 2014 budget
includes an increase of $3.9 billion to the health department as it
prepares to implement the administration's healthcare overhaul, setting
money aside for mental health, but cutting Medicare. The budget asks for
$1.5 billion in increased funding to help set up healthcare exchanges
and educate consumers on the enrollment process, which is scheduled to
begin on October 1 (Clarke, 4/10).
ABC News: Budget Includes
$235 Million For Mental Health Care
President Obama is asking for $235 million as part
of his new budget proposal to fund mental health initiatives. Of the
funds, $130 million will be used to train teachers and others to
identify signs of mental illness in students and provide them with
access to treatment.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen
Sebelius wrote in a blog on her agency's website Tuesday that the funds
include $205 million to help identify mental health problems, improve
access to mental health services and support safer school environments.
The plan would affect at least 8,000 schools according to Sebelius.
Another $30 million will go toward public health
research on gun violence (Mohney, 4/10).
Politico: CMS, FDA Budget
Winners; CDC, NIH Take Hit
President Barack Obama’s budget has significant new
funding to implement the health reform law, modernize food and drug
safety and implement mental health programs. The White House is
requesting a 14 percent increase in its budget for the Department of
Health and Human Services, much of it focused on the Food and Drug
Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Haberkorn,
Defying predictions of flat funding or a spending
cut, President Barack Obama proposes fattening the budget at the
National Institutes of Health by $472 million in fiscal 2014. At the
same time, his budget request would slash funding at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention by $432 million. Both changes are in
comparison with fiscal 2012 spending levels (Reichard, 4/10).
This is part of
Kaiser Health News' Daily
Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news
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