Medicare, Medicaid are 2011 budget gorillas at HHS

Mandatory outlays for the Medicare and Medicaid programs far outweigh discretionary spending in President Barack Obama's proposed 2011 budget for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), says the Wall Street Journal. Medicare and Medicaid funding totals $489.3 billion and $264.5 billion, respectively, while discretional funding comes in at a measly $82.8 billion.

Hallmarks of the HHS budget include:

  • $995 million to address provider shortages in underserved areas;
  • $290 million in increased funding to expand services at Health Centers;
  • $80 million to spread the adoption and use of health information technology;
  • $1.7 billion to fight fraud, which HHS expects to recoup $9.9 billion in savings;
  • $102.5 million to boost caregiver training and assistance so the elderly can remain in their homes longer;
  • $1.4 billion to improve food safety;
  • $954 million to help prevent smoking and tobacco use;
  • $20 million for a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative to help prevent chronic disease; and
  • A $1 billion increase in research funding for the National Institutes of Health.

To learn more about discretionary vs. mandatory spending:
- read the WSJ article
- here's the HHS press release
- check out the HHS budget webpage