Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Budget: What it does for Health Care

Obama's proposed budget provides the Department of Health and Human Services with $76.8 billion dollars. Some key points of the plan:
  1. The budget establishes a reserve fund of $630 billion over 10 years to finance health care reform. Half of the $630 billion comes from new revenues. The other half comes from saving proposals. This is only a down payment. The $630 billion will not guarantee health care coverage for all Americans. For this, additional funding is needed.
  2. Invest in cancer research with the goal of developing new diagnostics, treatments and cures.
  3. Encourage and increase the use of electronic health records (EHR). Starting in 2011, health care providers participating in the Medicare program will receive temporary incentives to use EHR. However, by 2015, all Medicare health care providers will need to use the system, or else they will face financial penalties. Medicaid providers are also eligible for incentives to assist with the purchase, implementation, and use of EHR.
  4. New efforts to lower drug costs and strengthen the Food and Drug Administration efforts to make food and medical products safer.
  5. Dedicate resources to improve oversight for the Medicare Prescription Drug program, Medicare Advantage, and the Medicaid Program.
  6. Increase efforts to strengthen the long term sustainability of the Medicare program.
  7. New funding to broaden the Medicare and Medicaid research agenda.
  8. Provide health care coverage to low-income individuals by temporarily increasing federal Medicaid funding to help states facing budget problems. Also signing into law the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, a program that provides children access to health care.
  9. Increase resources in the detection, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
  10. Strengthen the health professions work force by investing $330 million to address the shortage of health care providers in certain areas.
  11. Invest $4 billion in Indian Health Services to support and expand the provision of health care services and public health programs to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  12. Invest $221 million for research into the causes and treatments for Autism Spectrum disorders, screenings, public awareness, and support services.
  13. $73 million to improve access to and quality of health care in rural areas.
  14. Continue investment in comparative effectiveness research, which produces information on what medical treatments work best for a given condition.
  15. Create the Nurse Home Visitation program, which will provide funds to states to provide home visits by trained nurses to first-time low-income mothers and mothers-to-be.
  16. Increase efforts to prevent teen pregnancy.

Click here to see a copy of the proposed budget. (Source: CNN)

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