President Barack Obama today submitted a proposed budget for fiscal 2017 that includes funds to address opioid abuse, combat antibiotic resistance and prepare for potential infectious disease outbreaks.
The budget--which Reuters notes is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Congress--funds the Department of Health and Human Services to the tune of $82.8 billion. It targets both hot topics within healthcare and major items on the administration's healthcare agenda. For example, it allocated an additional $559 million for programs addressing opioid abuse and addiction, both of which are major financial millstones for hospitals and healthcare providers. It also addresses the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which public health officials have called a "looming global crisis," committing $43 million more to combat the threat as part of the White House's National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
Obama's budget also increases funding to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) oversight of medical product safety, providing an additional $116 million just after a Senate report found crossed wires and miscommunications within the FDA were partly to blame for the agency's failure to remove contaminated medical scopes from the market before they could spread antibiotic-resistant infections.
The proposal also boosts emergency-preparedness funding by $2 million for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts predict a tighter focus on integrated emergency preparedness at the provider level will be one of the top healthcare trends of 2016. The proposed budget further provides nearly $700 million to the cancer "moonshot," an initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden that seeks to dramatically expand cancer research in hopes of curing the disease.