By Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, AIDS United
On Wednesday, President Obama released his budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. The budget calls for total spending of nearly $3.8 trillion. The budget proposal reflects the President’s continued support for domestic HIV/AIDS programs and the ultimate goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation. Funding levels for the majority of the HIV domestic programs are increased or sustained at FY 2012 levels. The President’s budget calls for replacing the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, through a more balanced mix of spending cuts and new revenue. This would restore many of the spending cuts made in the current year (FY 2013) as a result of sequestration. AIDS United policy staff has quickly reviewed the President’s FY 2014 budget request for domestic HIV and public health funding for the year beginning October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014. Further analysis will come later when more detailed information is released. Due to the late decisions on the final FY13 appropriations, the President’s FY14 budget proposal is compared to FY12 funding levels.
The President’s budget increases discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to a total of $80.1 billion (up $3.4 million over FY12). Much of the increased funding is targeted for implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One ACA change called for in the budget is a delay of one year of the phased reduction of the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments. DSH payments help hospitals defray the costs of care for uninsured low-income patients. The delay in reducing the DSH payments would help hospitals in states that will not have accepted Medicaid expansion by Jan. 1, 2014. The budget proposal cuts the base discretionary budget authority for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $432 million. The budget calls for transferring $755 million from the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to support some of the core CDC programs. With other transfers, total funding for CDC would rise to $11.3 billion, $71 million over FY12 funding. The FY14 Budget includes $9 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a net increase of $841 million above the FY 2012 enacted level. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received an increase of $4 million over FY12 in the request for a total of $3.6 billion in FY14. The National Institutes of Health FY13 budget is $31.3 billion, an increase of $471 million over FY12.
We must acknowledge that we continue to be in a very difficult budget environment with the economic recovery slow and the sequester currently in place for FY13 and the next eight years. Below is a breakdown of major accounts. As additional back-up documents and fact sheets become available, we will provide further analysis of the President’s budget and the outlook going forward.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for the domestic HIV portfolio continues to show his commitment to implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) by prioritizing HIV funding. The CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention receives an increase of nearly $14 million, including $182,000 for Health Department Prevention. The budget request calls for a transfer of $40 million from less effective programs to create a new initiative to improve linkage to care for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV. $40 million of funding will be redirected for national programs to identify and reach high risk populations to link and retain them in care. The budget calls for essentially level funding at $32.4 million for the Division for Adolescent and School Health (DASH); a small increase of $128,000 for Viral Hepatitis; and basically level funding of $161.7 million for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Funding for TB prevention is increased by $366,000. HIV programs do not receive any funding from the Prevention and Public Health Funding in FY14. Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, continues to say that HIV is a winnable battle for the CDC. The commitment to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is evident by the focus that the CDC has put on HIV prevention funding and the importance of linkage and retention in care. The CDC has also increased the HIV surveillance budget by $10 million.
HRSA -- Ryan White Program
The $20 million increase to the Ryan White Program also shows commitment to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The increase also includes the President’s World AIDS Day 2011 funding in the base of $50 million (AIDS Drug Assistance Program [ADAP] and Part C funding by $35 million and $15 million respectively) that was transferred in FY12, but not included in the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding of the government now for the balance of FY13. President Obama’s FY14 request builds on those two programs with an additional $10 million for Part C and $10 million for ADAP to ensure access to treatment and essential medicine for HIV-positive individuals who are eligible for the Ryan White Program. The rest of the Ryan White Program was flat-funded.
Syringe Exchange Programs
AIDS United is pleased that President Obama and the Administration included a provision in the FY14 budget that would allow local communities to use federal funds for the purpose of syringe exchange programs.
Other HHS Programs
The President’s budget includes $327 million for Title X, demonstrating the commitment to family planning programs and reproductive and preventive health services, as well as an additional $104.6 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. The budget “zeros out” the current $5 million for competitive abstinence-only education grants. The budget does fund Title V abstinence-only at $37 million.
Housing and Urban Development – Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
The National AIDS Housing Coalition (NAHC) has produced policy papers demonstrating the connection between the need for affordable housing and HIV prevention. It is also well documented that housing sustains HIV-positive individuals in care and treatment. There is some confusion over the HOPWA allocation. There are two different budget numbers in two different places in the budget. The Housing and Urban Development Budget overview says HOPWA received $332 million in FY 14, but in the budget appendix it says HOPWA receives $330 million. The HOPWA budget report language also includes a request to modernize the way the HOPWA formula is allocated by moving from the number of AIDS cases to include the number of HIV cases. This shift will require Congress to change the current law; AIDS United is working with NAHC and other organizations to move this forward. AIDS United is investigating this funding discrepancy with the Administration and will report back once we receive clarification.
Corporation for National and Community Service
President Obama included a $4 million increase for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to $49 million and a $5 million increase for the AmeriCorps State and National programs to $346 million. AIDS United has both a SIF grant and an AmeriCorps grant with a focus on HIV and AIDS that funds local access to care programs and the work of AmeriCorps members on HIV throughout the United States. The SIF grant must be matched by our organization and by the grantees on the local level, thus leveraging $2 additional dollars for each $1 federal dollar invested. Often the individuals who serve in AmeriCorps in the HIV arena remain involved in HIV policy, care, treatment, or research for their careers. This is an important pipeline to new HIV workforce members as much of the HIV workforce begins to retire.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has increased its HIV budget for prevention, care, and treatment of HIV-positive veterans by 16% to $1.1 billion in funding.
Department of Justice
The Department of Justice will increase its HIV budget by 7.4% to ensure they have additional resources to enforce the laws against stigma and discrimination of HIV-positive individuals.
President Obama’s HIV domestic FY14 budget request is an increase of $1.2 billion over FY12 from $27.8 billion to $29 billion. Unusually, his budget is the last to be released in the FY14 process for funding this year, as both houses of Congress have already passed FY14 Budget Resolutions. Although coming last, the President’s budget lays out his priorities for the year to Congress. There are reports that the House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs are working to organize a conference committee to reconcile the two budgets. Prospects for a joint budget resolution are considered slight, although House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave hopeful comments in an interview on Thursday. The House and the Senate appropriations subcommittees will begin the process of hearing from the department secretaries about their priorities in the President’s budget as the appropriations process begins. We will continue to advocate with Congress and the Administration for the highest possible funding amount for the HIV domestic portfolio and keep you informed along the process.
(Information is gathered from the FY 2014 Budget, appendices, and an off the record call with the Office of National AIDS Policy.)
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013