ACP praises health care spending in president’s proposed 2023 federal budget

Government help needed ‘to ensure the health of the American public.’

Mental health, vaccines and federal research agencies all will see “significant improvements” in funding in President Joe Biden’s proposed 2023 budget, according to the American College of Physicians.

“We have seen over the past couple of years how important governmental support for health care and public health is to ensure the health of the American public,” ACP President George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “We are glad to see that President Biden’s budget proposal recognizes the important role of health and health care services and programs.”

The organization praised a half dozen provisions in the 2023 budget the president introduced on March 28. The next budget came less than two weeks after the president signed into law the 2022 national spending plan to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2022.

The fiscal year 2023 budget requests $127.3 billion in discretionary funding for the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

It will have “significant support for the mental health workforce,” according to the ACP.

“Mental health care was strained prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in mental health conditions over the past two years has greatly exacerbated the strain,” Abraham said in the news release. “ACP believes that better support for mental health care professionals and services, as well as the integration of behavioral health with primary care, is key to supporting the health and well-being of our patients.”

Among other provisions:

  • A new Vaccines for Adults Program for uninsured adults to access all the vaccinesrecommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at no cost.

“We have seen over the past year how critical widespread use of vaccines is to maintaining public health. We need this sort of program to ensure that vaccine uptake is as extensive as possible,” Abraham said.

  • There is “a major increase in funding for public health systems” and local agencies to improve public health, pandemic preparedness, and biodefense, according to ACP.

The budget includes $9.9 billion in discretionary funding for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is $2.8 billion over the 2021 enacted level, according to the budget.

  • Increased funding to $470 million for initiatives to improve maternal health and to increase health equity.

The budget noted “the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among development nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other women of color.”

  • A major increase in funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health to speed the development and practical application of health care breakthroughs.

The budget includes a $5 billion investment for the agency, known as ARPA-H, with an initial focus on cancer and diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, according to the budget.

  • Adequate funding for key federal agencies and programs, like the workforce programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. This includes increased funding for public health initiatives like the Title X family planning program and gun violence research.

“ACP believes that increased investments in public health and federal health programs are needed to ensure the health of all Americans,” Abraham said. “We look forward to working with the administration and with Congress to advance these critical health care programs.”

This was originally posted on our sister publication Medical Economics.