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HHS Budget Includes Cost-Cutting Measures

May 2, 2013:

Karen H. Kachur, RN, CPC, Clinical/Technical Editor

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently submitted its proposed budget for 2014.

HHS is the primary agency tasked with protecting the health of all Americans and furnishing vital human services, particularly for vulnerable populations. Representing nearly a quarter of all federal government expenditures, the agency administers not only the Medicare program, but more than 300 other programs as well. The agency comprises 11 operating divisions that include eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human service agencies.

The total HHS budget of $967.3 billion in outlays is an increase of approximately $60 billion over the 2013 budget.

The proposed budget for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) includes $854.3 billion in both mandatory and discretionary outlays, representing an increase of $60.2 billion, or more than 7 percent, over the 2013 level. This budget provides funding for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), private health insurance programs and oversight, integrity efforts, and operating costs, although the bulk of the budget is allocated to Medicare (61.3 percent) and Medicaid (35.7 percent). In addition, the budget includes program improvements directed at saving $393.2 billion in the next decade.

Medicare plans include better alignment of payments with costs and incentives for providers to furnish superior care. Medicaid, which projects a savings of $22.1 billion over the next decade, plans to make the program more efficient and responsible and to expand the Medicare Part B premium assistance for low-income Medicare beneficiaries and the Transitional Medical Assistance program.

The proposed budget also includes $640 million in mandatory and discretionary funds to put toward increased program integrity efforts. The additional funding will allow HHS and the Department of Justice to strengthen and expand their efforts to prevent and detect health care fraud and to prosecute wrongdoers. This program alone is estimated to be able to save $6.7 billion over the next decade.


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