Budget Request for HHS Includes $25M to Prevent Health-Exchange Fraud

President Obama

President Obama sent Congress a $3.9 trillion budget request on Tuesday that includes $77.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  That amount is $800 million below the 2014 enacted level of discretionary spending for HHS, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The Associated Press is reporting that the president’s budget request would push the agency’s funding over $1 trillion for the first time.

The OMB says the president’s HHS funding request “prioritizes core services and programs and makes targeted investments in training and support of health care providers, innovative biomedical research, food and drug safety, mental health services, health care for American Indians and Alaska natives, early childhood programs, and services for other vulnerable populations.”

The proposal includes $25 million over two years to monitor and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Some of the bigger-ticket items mentioned in the OMB’s report include the following:

– $30.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which is about 1 percent growth over 2014

– $14.6 billion over 10 years to train new health care providers, including $100 million in mandatory funding in 2015 to support pediatric training in children’s hospitals

– $4.7 billion in total resources for the Food and Drug Administration

– $4.6 billion for the Indian Health Service

– $164 million to expand mental health treatment and prevention services

The New York Times noted on Wednesday that the president’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, would spend nearly $55 billion more than the discretionary spending limit that was in the deal that Democrats and Republicans negotiated in December to avert another government shutdown.

The president’s budget request is not expected to be adopted by Congress, as lawmakers are producing their own budget proposals.

Instead, the document embodies the president’s “wish list,” wrote New York Times national correspondent Jackie Calmes, and is intended to highlight contrasts with Republicans over tax-and-spending policies in this mid-term election  year.