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2016 HHS Budget Highlights

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget for 2016 runs to 158 pages. Available in full as a PDF from the HHS web site it covers the entire spectrum of healthcare expense and was presented at a recent press conference by Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. At 158 pages the entire budget is far too complex to analyze in a blog post, so here is a handy graphic, provided by the HHS, which breaks out the gross overall percentages.

budget2015As expected, the lion's share of the budget is given over to the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs. During her delivery Secretary Burwell advised the expectation that the proposed changes in this budget would, across the board, save the American public $250 billion over the next ten years. The budget states that the Affordable Care act remains a prime focus and aims to offer health insurance coverage to millions more Americans than would otherwise be able to afford it. Growth in technology and healthcare infrastructure will ensure that all those additional millions of Americans will also be able to access it easily.

Significant funding has been earmarked for Health Centers, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and a $14.2 billion investment which aims specifically to "bolster the nation’s health workforce and to improve the delivery of health care across the country." An additional $1 Billion has been requested for research and development into new technologies, cyber security, new medicine, and the expansion of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Along with many other new initiatives, the budget includes provision for reforms to the Graduate Medical Education program grant system, with a focus on teaching hospitals and facilities, quoting investment support for over 13,000 residents over the next 10 years.

An extra $6.3 billion has been allocated to extending the enhanced Medicaid reimbursement rate for primary care services through to December 31 2016, to encourage provider participation. Noticeably exempt to this funding program are emergency department care units. The Medicare primary care incentive program, which was until now set temporarily at a figure of 10 percent, has been made permanent.