The White House has released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2023, and it highlights multiple healthcare priorities for the administration.
During a briefing with reporters Monday, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said the budget reflects the agency’s willingness to take on the industry’s most difficult challenges.
“Done right, [budgets] turn hardship into hope, opportunity into inclusion,” Becerra said.
Here’s a look at a few of the healthcare focuses included in the budget proposal:
Investment in pandemic preparedness
The budget calls for $81.7 billion in investment over the course of five years to plan ahead for any future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19. The funding would “catalyze advances in science, technology and core capabilities” to leave the country better prepared for a future biological threat, according to the request.
The funding request includes $12.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health to research vaccines and therapies for high priority biological threats as well as research to prevent biological incidents. The budget would also allocate $40 billion to the Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response for similar initiatives.
The Food and Drug Administration would receive $1.6 billion for enhanced capacity to address potential biological threats under the proposed budget.
Spotlight on Biden’s Cancer Moonshot
The budget proposes a slew of investments across regulatory agencies including the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Cancer to advance the president’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.
The effort aims to reduce the cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years as well as to improve the experience for people who are living with or have survived the disease.
“My budget also makes the investments needed to reduce costs for families and make progress on my Unity Agenda—including investments to cut the costs of child care and healthcare; help families pay for other essentials; end cancer as we know it; support our veterans; and get all Americans the mental health services they need,” Biden said in a statement.
Mental health parity a priority
Mental health care access and quality has been a key topic in the industry in the wake of COVID-19. The president’s budget proposal includes funding to bolster behavioral healthcare in a number of areas.
For one, it proposes funding to bulk up the mental health care workforce as well as investment in community health centers and clinics that provide such services. The proposal also boosts funding for youth mental health and suicide prevention programs, as well as a notable investment in building out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In addition, the budget would propose reforms to health coverage to ensure greater mental health parity. Addressing parity concerns has been a key issue for the Biden administration.
A continued commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS
The budget proposal extends investments began under the Trump administration for a national strategy to reduce HIV/AIDS infections. It commits to a 75% reduction in infections by 2025 through investment in access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) and needed services and supports.
The proposal allocates $850 million across HHS to enhance access to PrEP and reduce new infections. This includes growing access to PrEP in Medicaid as well as a program that would guarantee prep at no cost to uninsured and underinsured people. The budget plan also aims to establish a network of community providers to reach underserved populations and offer wraparound services through the states, tribal entities and localities.