On February 2, President Barack Obama released a $3.99 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 that proposes to pay for middle-class tax breaks and a six-year infrastructure plan with $640 billion in revenues from tax increases and another $1.16 trillion in other savings.
The President’s budget plan raises a number of issues that could directly impact pediatric nurse practitioners. Among them, the budget:
- Extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for four years through fiscal year 2019, including the contingency fund and the performance bonus fund. The proposal would cost roughly $11.88 billion over 10 years and is paid for through an increase in tobacco taxes. The extension aligns with Affordable Care Act requirements for states to maintain eligibility and enrollment policies through 2019 for children in Medicaid and CHIP.
- Reinstates and expands the Medicaid primary care payment incentive that expired at the end of 2014. The budget would increase Medicaid payment for some primary care services to at least equal Medicare rates and extend the higher payment to nurse practitioners and other primary care providers through calendar year 2016. The extension and expansion would cost $6.3 billion between 2016 and 2025.
- Increases funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) by nearly $112.9 million over fiscal year 2015 to a total of almost $6.218 billion. However, the budget does not increase funding for nursing workforce development programs under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, keeping those programs at their current funding level of $231.6 million.
- More than doubles funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to a total $810.4 million – $287.4 million in discretionary annual appropriations and $523 million in proposed mandatory funding – compared to $287.4 million in 2015.
- Increases funding for the National Institute for Nursing Research by 2.53 percent to a total of $144.5 million.
- Fully eliminates the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” and increases discretionary spending for domestic programs by $37 billion.
For more information on the President’s complete fiscal year 2016 budget, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb.
For more information on the Department of Health and Human Services budget, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/budget/.
For more information on the Health Resources and Services Administration budget, visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/about/budget/index.html.