2024 President’s Annual Budget Includes Funds for Health Workforce
Last Thursday, the White House released the president’s annual budget for fiscal year 2024. The budget includes $6.9 trillion in total spending along with $144.3 billion in discretionary spending and $1.7 trillion in mandatory funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Highlights of the budget include several major increases in funding towards existing health workforce programs, as well as funding for the development of new programs. These include:
$966 million towards the National Health Services Corps ($548 million increase from FY2023 outlays)
$43 million towards medical student education (level funded from FY2023 outlays)
$28 million to the new Health Care Workforce Innovation Program which will address concerns related to the health workforce shortage
$387 million to Behavioral Health Workforce Development Programs ($190 million increase from FY2023 outlays)
$25 million to the new Supporting the Mental Health of the Health Professions Workforce
$37 million to the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program ($18 million increase from FY2023 outlays)
The bolstered funding in health workforce programs indicates that the Biden-Harris administration and HHS is interested in strengthening America’s health workforce. It is important to note that the president’s budget is not legally binding but is rather a proposal for recommended funding levels and policy priorities. Next, the House and Senate will each pass their own appropriations bills taking into account the priorities and interests of each party in power in each Chamber. Then, the House and Senate appropriations committees will draft funding bills at which point they will be voted on by the whole chamber.
While the Senate’s budget will likely include similar priorities to those of the president, it is anticipated that the House budget includes significantly lower discretionary spending. Indeed, with discussions of cuts to Social Security and Medicare reportedly off the table, lawmakers and their aides have suggested that the House bill will include deep cuts to discretionary social programs including Medicaid, SNAP, and housing choice vouchers. Because of this, it is likely that the final budget passed by Congress will have steep cuts to health workforce programs relative to the President’s initial budget.