President Obama's FY2013 budget proposal to Congress includes both cuts and increases to programs that support children’s health.
There are many positive highlights such as the investment of an additional $300 million to create 25 new health centers nationwide; additional incentives for 2,800 new primary care providers who practice in areas where there is an existing shortage of doctors and high poverty rates; and retaining the majority of funding for the implementation of national health reform.
However, there are also some very concerning aspects in the budget proposal including:
Cuts of around $63 million over 10 years to Medicaid and CHIP, two vital safety net programs for children. The budget plan proposes a streamlined funding system for Medicaid and CHIP that would go into effect in 2017. The combining of federal funding into a single blended rate, would result in lower payments to states, which could, in turn, trigger state cuts to Medicaid and CHIP.
Slashing of $4 billion over 10 years from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a fund established as part of the new health reform law. This fund is critical to improving the lives of children through support of prevention, wellness and public health programs such as obesity prevention, nutrition programs, health screenings and immunization efforts. These programs have been shown not only to reduce health care costs but to also save lives.
The President’s budget proposal is just the first step in the federal budgeting process, and members of Congress, who have their own views on national spending priorities, will debate on spending over the coming months. The plan approved by Congress will eventually have to be approved by the president in order to become law.
It is as important now, as ever, that Members of Congress hear from their constituents that investing in the future of our children and their well being should be their number one priority.
Take action now by writing to your local lawmaker to let them know that you will be watching their actions closely during these federal budget debates.