House Appropriators release draft Labor-HHS funding bill

The House Appropriations Committee released its draft Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill. The draft bill is funded at $156 billion, $5 billion below the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) enacted levels. The HHS portion of the bill is $77.6 billion, $542 million below FY17 enacted levels, but $14.5 billion above the President’s budget request. A summary of the bill is available here, and full bill text is available here.

While we do not have all of the details about the many important rural programs, the budget does fund the Flex grant program at $43.6 million and for State Office of Rural Health at $10 million, both are the same as was enacted for FY17.

The bill allocates $5.8 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is $398 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $277 million above the President’s budget request. The amount includes:

-$300 million for the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education, the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.

-$103.5 million for the Healthy Start program – and $642 million for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant – the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.

The bill funds Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) at $3.5 billion – $306 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $68 million above the President’s request. The legislation maintains a prohibition on federal funds for the purchase of syringes or sterile needles, but allows communities with rapid increases in cases of HIV and Hepatitis to access federal funds for other activities, including substance-use counseling and treatment referrals.

 SAMHSA funding includes:

 -$1.86 billion for the Substance Abuse Block Grant – the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.4 million above the President’s budget request.

-$78 million for Criminal Justice activities – equal to the fiscal year 2017 level and the request – including $60 million specifically for drug courts.

The bill includes $747 million to address opioid and heroin abuse, which is the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $44 million above the request. This amount includes $500 million for the state response grants authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, along with funding for programs authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

NRHA will continue to monitor the budget process as the Subcommittee considers this draft bill. We will update the blog with more information as it becomes available.

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