Obama Budget Proposal Includes Disease Prevention, But Cuts CDC Spending

President Barack Obama announced his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 today (Feb. 14), and included $79.9 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to improve detection of health care fraud and abuse of funds, invest in scientific research and implement a new approach to chronic disease prevention.

The department's proposed budget, which is slightly higher than the proposed budget from fiscal year 2011, supports last year's passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . It would also allow for improvements in detecting waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the department.

The proposed budget allocates $32 billion to fund biomedical research by the National Institutes of Health in cancer, Alzheimer's disease and autism spectrum disorders, Sebelius said. (Obama's proposal is expected, however, to face modifications from Congress.

"Our budget will allow the world's leading scientists to pursue these discoveries, while keeping America at the forefront of biomedical research," Sebelius told reporters today.

The proposed budget also allocates $4.4 billion to the Food and Drug Administration , according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Medicare, Medicaid and prevention

The White House proposed no direct cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. That's likely because the health care reform bill Congress passed a year ago included cuts in the growth of Medicare payments over the next decade, and these are already factored into the budget proposal, said Gerald F. Kominski, professor and associate director of the Center for Health Policy Research at University of California, Los Angeles.

Medicare and Medicaid are "really, more or less, being held harmless," Kominski told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Obama's budget proposal also includes investments to train more than 4,000 primary care doctors who are expected to enter the work force in the next five years, as well as $2.1 billion for prevention programs to cut tobacco use and obesity rates.

Prevention dollars would also go to state governments so they can detect and respond to health problems, to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services and to mental health and substance abuse prevention programs, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

More than $8 billion would also go to early childhood programs such as Head Start, and $96 million would go to help families and seniors with senior assistance, the Office of Management and Budget said.

Proposed budget cuts for the CDC

The budget includes $100 million in cuts to the administrative budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means the CDC will stop hiring outside contractors to do work CDC employees can do, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"Though [the cuts] will not be painless, administrative savings are always better than programmatic reductions," Frieden told reporters.

Pass it on: President Barack Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 includes boosts in detecting fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid, investments in scientific research and administrative cuts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Amanda Chan on Twitter @AmandaLChan.

Amanda Chan
Amanda Chan was a staff writer for Live Science Health. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.