President Joe Biden's budget request to Congress proposes the creation of a new agency dedicated to cancer research, billions of dollars in funding to help end the opioid epidemic and an investment in the rural health workforce.
As Biden's first budget request to Congress as president, it offers a look at his priorities on healthcare and education, with increases in discretionary—or optional spending—across the board.
A proposal detailing mandatory spending requests—which includes Medicaid and Medicare—will come later, White House officials said Friday.
The request released Friday by the White House Office of Management and Budget requests $6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health within the National Institutes of Health.
The initial focus of the agency would be on cancer and other diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's, with the goal of driving "transformational innovation" in health research and speed health breakthroughs.
The request also asks Congress to appropriate $10.7 billion to help end the opioid epidemic, with a focus on research, prevention, treatment and recovery services, particularly for Native Americans, older Americans and rural populations. It would also go toward medication-assisted treatment and expanding the behavioral health provider workforce. That would amount to a nearly $4 billion increase over what was approved by Congress for 2021.
The White House also requested that Congress increase funding for Health Resources and Services Administration programs that aim to increase the number of rural healthcare providers and help them stay open.
The budget request also includes $8.7 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which would be the largest increase seen in decades, to modernize public health department data collection and workforce training.
Citing the impact COVID-19 has had on mental health, the White House asked Congress to double spending on the community mental health services block grant to $1.6 billion a year.
Another $670 million is sought within HHS to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. by increasing access to treatment and preventive care.