A principal function of Congress is to provide funds to support a broad array of government activities in time for the start of a new fiscal year each October 1. Except for 2018, that particular task has proven to be exceptionally challenging. During the past 15 years, two kinds of obstacles have stood in the path of appropriating money in a timely manner. The first is differences between Democrats and Republicans, while the second is a basic disagreement that proves difficult to reconcile between the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Some candidates in elections of yesteryear were fond of using a campaign theme song called “Sunny Days Are Here Again.” Unlike those earlier funding cycles, 2018 truly represents a most welcome departure from more cloudy times to a present sunny day. Especially gratifying is that this turn of events affects one of the largest of the 12 categories of funding, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). The House Appropriations Committee on September 13, 2018 filed a two-bill Appropriations “minibus” funding bill, which was approved by a joint House and Senate Conference Committee. The Conference Report includes the Department of Defense and the Labor- HHS Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019. This package also includes a short-term “Continuing Resolution (CR),” which will provide continued funding to keep the federal government operating until all yearly funding bills can be signed into law. The CR merely extends current levels of funding for federal agencies until December 7, 2018.
Some appropriation highlights that await being finalized by having bills signed into law are:
Includes vital funding for the National Institutes of Health – $39 billion, an increase of $2 billion.
Funds programs to protect against health threats such as pandemics and bio-threats, providing $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $2 billion to prepare for and prevent public health and social services emergencies with programs such as biomedical research, acquisition of medical supplies and vaccines, and hospital preparedness grants.
Saves taxpayers $50 million in future appropriations by creating the first Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, where funds only become available for use in the event of a future public health emergency.
Helps to combat the opioid epidemic by providing $6.7 billion, a historic level of funding, for programs that fight, treat, and stop substance abuse and support access to mental health services. Includes $5.7 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a $584 million increase. Funds activities authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act and other addiction and recovery programs.
As described on page five of this issue of TRENDS, furnishes support for students who are studying for careers in the health professions.
More Articles from TRENDS September 2018
FULFILLING A QUEST FOR PATIENT-CENTERED CARE
Patient-centered care is an important aspect of service delivery, but more efforts are needed to achieve its full potential. Read More
PRESIDENT’S CORNER—ASAHP MEMBER FOCUS
Charles Gulas, Dean of the Walker College of Health Professions at Maryville University of Saint Louis, is featured in this issue of TRENDS. Read More
HEALTH REFORM DEVELOPMENTS
Some states seek workforce requirements for certain Medicaid recipients, a challenge is mounted to stop an expansion of short-term health insurance plans, and savings are produced by accountable care organizations. Read More
DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Opponents respond to a Trump Administration proposal to rescind gainful employment regulations, representatives of various interest groups testify at a U.S. Department of Education hearing on accreditation, and Congress increases appropriations for education programs. Read More
QUICK STAT (SHORT, TIMELY, AND TOPICAL)
Prevalence Of Chronic Pain And High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults—United States
Daily Use Of Marijuana Among Non-College Young Adults
Micromotor Pills As A Dynamic Oral Delivery Platform
Using Biomimicry To Develop Solutions For Human Health Problems Read More
AVAILABLE RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONICALLY
Creating A Policy Environment To Address Social Determinants Of Health
Population Health: Translation Of Research To Policy
Achieving Rural Health Equity And Well-Being: Proceedings Of A Workshop Read More