Obama Budget Would Replace SGR Formula, Boost Medicaid, Mental Health

Among the changes included in the president's 2014 budget blueprint are 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. The proposal 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 federal largesse. 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).

Medpage Today: HHS Budget Plan Cuts Billions From Medicare
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).

Modern Healthcare: Obama Proposes $5.6B In Medicare Payment Cuts For FY 2014
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 Washington Post's WonkBlog: The White House Wants To Reverse $500 Million In Medicaid Cuts
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).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: HHS Budget Aims To Boost Mental-Health Programs
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: Obama 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, 4/11).

CQ HealthBeat: HHS: NIH Would Get Unexpected Boost
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).

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