Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


House Combines Flat Funding with Scattered Cuts in Action on Health Spending

JUNE 27, 2005 - Fiscal 2006 spending approved Friday by the House of Representatives will disappoint those trying to strengthen the nation's health care safety net, with funding for community health centers falling $203.5 million below the sum requested by the Bush administration and lawmakers voting to end the $83 million Healthy Communities Access program.

But the spending measure (HR 3010), approved 250-151, contains a huge increase in health care entitlement spending: $54 billion for the Medicare prescription drug benefit, expected to improve health care for millions of Medicare beneficiaries, many of them poor.

The administration sought a $303.6 million increase in funding for community health centers, a major element of its plan to improve care for the uninsured. The House voted an increase of $100 million, which would bring total spending next fiscal year on community health centers to $1.83 billion.

The Healthy Communities Access program draws bipartisan praise for funding local efforts to provide preventive care to the uninsured. Defenders say it heads off far greater outlays by reducing the need for poor people to make costly visits to the emergency room for care. But the program was seen as a victim of efforts to come up with funds to head off House cuts in outlays for public broadcasting.

The House also voted to cut funding for health professions programs by $253 million. Backers say the programs help reduce disparities in access to care by training minority physicians and other health care professionals more likely to practice in underserved areas.

The House voted to provide $300 million to fund graduate medical education programs in children's hospitals, $100 million more than was requested by the Bush administration, and about flat with current funding. House members voted to cut funding by $24 million for the maternal and child health block grant, to a total of $700 million. Administered by the Health Services and Resources Administration, the block grant funds a wide variety of health care programs for children.

The spending measure provides $2.058 billion for Ryan White AIDS programs, an increase of $10 million. It allots $6.1 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $295 million below the fiscal 2005 level. The spending level approved by the House for CDC to prevent chronic diseases and carry out health promotion activities is $42 million below the figure for fiscal 2005.

The House approved an outlay of $28.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health. That's $142 million more than current funding, an increase of about 0.5 percent. The budget total for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is $318.7 million, the same as this year. Funding includes $84 million for reducing medical errors, $50 million of which goes for grants to increase the use of health care information technology. As is the case in fiscal 2005, research to compare the clinical effectiveness of drugs, devices, and health care services receives $15 million under the House measure.

Among the amendments defeated by the House was language proposed by Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, D-N.Y. prohibiting the use of funds in the bill to distribute the personal information of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to private companies for marketing purposes. The House adopted an amendment by Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., to prohibit the use of funds to place Social Security account numbers on Medicare identification cards.

Publication Details