WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance subcommittee on health care, highlighted some of the key provisions in the $1.014 trillion funding package passed by Congress that avoids a government shutdown and advances public health initiatives in Maryland and across the nation.
“Americans expect Congress to do its job and pass fiscally responsibly spending measures that invest in America and set priorities, providing maximum stability to federal agencies, programs, businesses and workers,” U.S. Senator Ben Cardin said.
“While far from perfect, on balance the omnibus spending bill fulfills this responsibility, avoiding a reckless government shutdown and advancing several priority programs, including many in the field of public health. It devotes considerable resources to treating Ebola and infectious diseases world-wide and directs more than $30 billion to the National Institutes of Health, expanding base funding by $150 million and Ebola-related research by $238 million. It allows the NIH flexibility in the direction of funds necessary to support trailblazing efforts to understand the inner workings of the brain and Alzheimer’s Disease. The bill provides strong funding to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and almost $5 billion for the National Cancer Institute, including $8 million that can be used for facility repairs and improvement at NCI in Frederick. Furthering support for the Affordable Care Act, the omnibus spending bill includes a $1.5 billion funding increase for Community Health Centers, whose funding have been a long-term priority for Marylanders.”
Following are some of the important public health-related provisions in the omnibus spending bill:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $6.9 billion, a $43 million increase over FY14 enacted levels.
- Community Health Centers funded at $1.492 billion. Combined with mandatory funding in the Affordable Care Act, FY15 program level is $5.1 billion, an increase of about $1.5 billion.
- NIH funding: $30.3 billion, an increase of $150 million in base funding and $238 million in Ebola-related research.
- Allows NIH to allocate a 25 percent increase in Alzheimer’s Disease Research Initiative and $65 million for second year of Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (an increase of $25 million).
- Includes $4.95 billion for National Cancer Institute, of which up to $8 million may be used for facility repairs and improvements at National Cancer Institute – Frederick Federally Funded Research and Development Center.
- Includes $269 million for National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
- Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education: $265 million in funding, same as FY14.
- More than $7.4 billion for health care and support services for homeless veterans.
- $7.0 billion for long-term care for the nation’s aging veterans and severely wounded combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- $4.6 billion to provide health care for women veterans, including $403 million in gender-specific health care to meet the unique needs of female veterans.
- $4.2 billion to meet the health care needs of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan ($500 million more than the current estimate for FY14).
- $589 million for research in a number of areas, including mental health, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, burn injury, polytrauma injuries and sensory loss.
- $99.3 million for Board of Veterans Appeals ($11 million more than FY14 level), increasing manpower resources to expedite the appeals process.
- $250 million to build on the Rural Health Initiative to close gaps in VA service in rural and remote areas.