Take Action to Ensure Adequate Funding for Healthcare and HIV Programs!
Recently, President Biden released his FY2023 budget proposal. While this budget will likely change over the next few months, it provides a useful guide for establishing what the administration’s policy priorities are. President Biden’s budget includes $127.3 billion for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) programs in discretionary spending and $1.7 trillion in mandatory funding. Mandatory funds are pre-allotted for established programs like Social Security and Medicare. Discretionary funds are what annual Congressional Appropriations Committees can direct to the needs of their constituents, like healthcare, education, and scientific research programs. Discretionary funds are important because they shape a wide range of government resources and programs. Below are some highlights in the proposed $127.3 billion HHS budget:
- Community health centers: The President’s FY23 Budget recognizes the critical role of community health centers (CHCs) in providing comprehensive care, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and addressing health disparities. The FY23 Budget includes $1.8 billion in discretionary funding and $3.9 billion in mandatory funding for CHCs, and increase of $155.3 million over the FY22 Continuing Resolution level. The FY23 Budget also include $17 million (an increase of $7 million over FY22 enacted levels) to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve oversight and expand regulatory authority over the 340B Drug Discount Program, which is a central funding stream for CHCs.
- Behavioral health: The FY23 budget makes historic investments in behavioral health to support the President’s call for full parity between physical and mental health. The HHS budget includes $7.5 billion for a new Mental Health Transformation Fund to fund mental health workforce development and service expansion, as well as integration of behavioral health into primary care. The budget also includes funding to enforce parity and increase access to insurance coverage for behavioral health services in commercial insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.
- HIV programs: The budget allots $850 million across HHS for the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, an increase of $377 million above FY22. This funding will help to scale up and advance efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV in the 57 priority jurisdictions of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. The FY23 budget also allocates $9.8 billion to HHS over a 10-year period to establish a new national program to provide PrEP at no cost for uninsured and underinsured individuals and Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Gender-based violence: The budget provides $1 billion to support programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act. This is a major increase over previous enacted levels, nearly doubling current funding. This increase in funding would support creation of new resources and programs for transgender survivors, building capacity for community-based organizations, and addressing emerging issues in gender-based violence.
While there were many meaningful increases in the FY23 budget, many funding amounts in the budget do not align with the immense need for these underfunded programs and services. For Fiscal Year 2023, we urge Congress to fund:
- The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program at $2.942 billion, an increase of $447 million over FY22. While the Ryan White Program will be receiving some funding through the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, that only accounts for about half of the people living with HIV in the United States. The program overall needs increased funding, especially since specific programs within Ryan White, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the AIDS Education Training Centers are currently not receiving any increases or receiving funding cuts.
- Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) at $600 million, an increase of $150 million over FY22. Housing is one of the greatest unmet needs for people living with HIV and stable housing is a major facilitator towards achieving viral suppression.
- Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative programs across HHS agencies at $610 million. The HIV epidemic continues to disproportionately burden racial and ethnic minority communities in the United States. This increased funding will help to improve HIV-related outcomes within these communities specifically.
- Robust funding for community health centers: Congress must hear the need for robust funding for CHCs as they begin appropriations negotiations!
You can use this template to reach out to your elected officials about important HIV program funding requests! You can also contact your elected officials to urge them to fund these important services and programs.