The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Ed) held a hearing on Thursday on this year's proposed budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, featuring HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt as a witness. At the same time, BIAA signed on this week to a coalition letter to the Subcommittee urging its Members to provide $30 million for TBI Act programs this year.
BIAA also signed on to a coalition letter urging Members of Congress to increase funding for all aspects of public health included in the Function 550/discretionary budget allocation in Fiscal Year 2009 by $5.3 billion.
The letter states:
"Our nation struggles with escalating health care costs, growing numbers of uninsured, and the prospect of declining health measured by overall morbidity and mortality. The President's budget for FY 2009 continues to seriously underfund and undermine an important part of the solution: public health activities and programs...The undersigned organizations urge you to increase funding for all aspects of public health...by an amount that will: 1) restore funding cuts to public health programs enacted in FY 2006; 2) restore lost purchasing power that flat-funding for at least five years has eroded and 3) provide investments that begin to truly meet health challenges facing the nation."
The three federal agencies charged with implementing TBI Act programs - the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - received either flat or significantly decreased funding in the President's Budget.
A key legislative priority for BIAA this year is to work to prevent any cuts in funding for TBI programs from occurring and to instead achieve a significant increase in federal support for TBI programs. Stay tuned for BIAA Legislative Action Alerts regarding TBI-related appropriations.