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2015 HHS Budget Press Conference

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Washington, D.C.
March 4, 2014

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Good afternoon.  It’s good to see everyone.  I’m joined today by the very dedicated and talented senior leadership of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Together, they represent tens of thousands of hardworking men and women, who are committed to expanding opportunity for millions of Americans.

As the President has said, if you work hard and take responsibility, you ought to have the opportunity to build a better a life for yourself and for your family.  This Department’s mission is critically important to making this idea a reality for folks in every part of our country.

The budget we’re announcing today is a fiscally responsible budget.  On the mandatory side, it will contribute a net $369 billion toward deficit reduction over the next decade.

By incentivizing high quality and efficient care,… and by continuing to reduce health care cost growth,… this budget also strengthens Medicare and Medicaid with $415 million in net savings over the next decade.

It extends the solvency of the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by 5 years.

And it will reduce average annual growth in Medicare over the next decade from 6.3 percent to 5.3 percent.

What’s more, by expanding competitive bidding for durable medical equipment, it also produces additional savings for Medicare and its beneficiaries alike.

Five Budget Highlights

I want to call your attention to a few of the specific investments this budget makes in opportunity, economic growth, and security:

This budget invests to empower Americans to live healthier lives and to obtain financial security for their families, through the Affordable Care Act.

The Budget provides resources to continue to support these efforts, including the operations of the Marketplace to help individuals enroll in the best health insurance coverage option available for themselves and their families.

The overall investment of $1.8 billion in the Marketplace will allow millions of Americans to finally achieve the security of health insurance for themselves and their families; something that many have waited years to attain,… some, their entire lives.

The investment this budget makes in America’s Community Health Centers alone, will make affordable care available to 31 million patients at 9,500 existing sites and 150 new center sites.  For Fiscal Year 2015 this investment is $4.6 billion.

To further expand opportunity, this budget invests in a job creation Healthcare Workforce Initiative.

With $14.62 billion in mandatory funds over 10 years, we will be able to, among other things, expand the National Health Service Corps to at least 15,000 providers.

We will also be able to support 13,000 medical students in three year residencies  and to extend the Medicaid primary care increase through CY 2015.

This budget makes some critically important investments in our children’s health, well-being, and development.

It requests $6.1 billion (both mandatory and discretionary) for the Child Care and Development Fund, including $200 million which will be dedicated to improving the quality of care.

The President’s total child care request will enable 1.4 million children to receive assistance – and this is 74,000 more than could be served without the additional funding.

The Budget also addresses the over-prescription of psychotropic medications in the foster care population, by funding a joint five-year ACF-CMS demonstration at the state-level.

In so-doing it will allow us to remove what is often a roadblock to opportunity and educational attainment for more than 400,000 vulnerable American children.

In addition, there is a $5 million investment in a new initiative that will assist youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they transition from supportive childhood environments into adulthood.

This budget makes a number of critically important investments in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment and prevention.

For example, it invests to increase the number of licensed behavior health professionals, peer professionals, and mental health and addiction specialists.  It expands the National Health Service Corps and continues to invest in the behavioral health workforce through the President’s Now is the Time initiative.

These investments will help train approximately 5,000 additional mental health professionals and increase the field strength of the National Health Service Corps to 15,000 by 2016.

In addition, it invests $26 million toward the CDC’s and SAMHSA’s work to prevent prescription drug misuse, abuse, and overdoses.

The budget invests to protect the safety and security of patients and taxpayers alike.

It includes $15 million to expand prevention efforts in primary care practices, nursing homes, and other health care settings.

It also puts $25 million into Elder Justice initiatives which are designed to mitigate the negative effects of abuse, neglect, and exploitation that too many of our seniors suffer

And it invests $428 million in HCFAC and the Medicaid Integrity Program – both of which are proven to deliver results in fighting fraud.  Every dollar we invest in HCFAC for example, returns $8.10 in money we recover.  We’ve now recovered a record-breaking $4.3 billion

The budget also does some critically important things in the area of biodefense.  It invests in funding that will support the development and procurement of medical countermeasures, and as a result, we will be able to partner with industry to strengthen the nation’s preparedness across a variety of threats.

Specifically, it invests an additional $215 million to support the development of biodefense countermeasures through BARDA, Project BioShield, and pandemic influenza preparedness.

It also invests $45 million in CDC’s global health security activities, along with $30 million to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant pathogens.

We’re also investing to protect the safety of our food supplies and our pharmaceutical products.

This budget increases our investment in FDA food safety by $263 million.

And it invests $25 million to expand oversight of pharmacy compounding – so that we can combat and prevent crises like the fungal meningitis outbreak that occurred in 2012.

President’s Opportunity, Growth & Security Initaitive

Before we open for Q&A, I also want to call your attention to a few of the additional HHS-related investments that President Obama is proposing as part of his government-wide “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative” which would be paid for by closing tax loopholes.

The President’s initiative calls for greater investment to support early learning opportunities from birth through age three.

It proposes increasing our total investment in Early Head-Start Childcare partnerships by $800 million.  This would bring our total investment up to $1.5 billion and more importantly, it would provide more than 100,000 children with access to early education.

The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative also proposes a $970 million increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health.  This investment would support research, discovery, and innovation.  And it would empower scientists and researchers to advance their work toward finding new cures, treatments, vaccines, technologies and other breakthroughs.

As another part of the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, the President is requesting $50 million to support the advanced development of a universal influenza vaccine that would be effective against varying strains of flu, including those with pandemic potential.

Last but not least, the President proposes to invest $200 million in projects on the Indian Health Services construction list.  This not only would make a difference in the health and well-being of First Americans, it will support the construction jobs that benefit our economy.

Conclusion

Overall, as you can see, taken together, this budget and the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative would make important investments in opportunity, economic growth, and security.

We’re happy to answer whatever questions you may have.