KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Funding for the Next Pandemic

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President Joe Biden released his budget proposal for 2023 this week, and it requires a nearly 27% increase in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. It includes $ 28 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement a contingency program for future pandemics and $ 40 billion for HHS to invest in manufacturing vaccines and other drugs.

In addition, the FDA and CDC approved a second booster shot for most people 50 years and older. But federal officials offered small pieces of advice to consumers on who might need that shot and when.

This week’s panelists are Mary Agnes Carey from KHN, Amy Goldstein from The Washington Post, Jennifer Haberkorn from the Los Angeles Times and Rachana Pradhan from KHN.

Among takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Biden’s advocacy to fund preparations for a future pandemic reinforces his sense of urgency in strengthening public health infrastructure, but whether Congress will take that step is unknown. Already, some legislators are negative about the administration’s request for more money to fund further covid-19 tests and vaccine efforts.
  • A two-part group of senators has met in recent days in hopes of finding a compromise to restore funding for tests and vaccinations. Republicans have complained that previous funding for covid has been spent too ruthlessly and that there is not enough transparency about where it has gone. They would like some of the funds that have not been used to be withdrawn. There is still no indication that the group of senators has a plan to move forward, but the upcoming spring break for Easter and Easter may provide a deadline that helps focus the debate.
  • The administration initially sought more than $ 20 billion for testing and vaccines. Congress seemed ready to spend about $ 15 billion before ending up in a dead end. Some reports suggest that Senate negotiators are talking about $ 10 billion, which could provide funding for just several months.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also announced this week that a new analysis shows that growth in health spending in the United States has slowed.
  • Millions of Americans are expected to lose Medicaid coverage when the covid emergency ends and states will be able to write off people who no longer meet the eligibility requirements. Advocates warn that some of these people will not move to other coverage options, such as insurance offered at Affordable Care Acts insurance marketplaces.
  • A priority for the ACA was to help reduce health care costs, and the law set up an innovation center to fund projects looking for ways to do so. Experts at the time believed that value-based care could make a difference, and the center has made this a guiding principle in its research. But there is little evidence so far that such efforts yield meaningful results.

Also this week, Julie Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the monthInstallment payment for a very expensive air ambulance trip. If you have an outrageous medical bill that you would like to share with us, you can do this.

Plus, for added credit, panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week, which they think you should read as well:

Mary Agnes Carey: New Yorkers “A freelancer’s forty-three years in the American health care system”, By David Owen

Amy Goldstein: Stats “NIH Identity Crisis: Pandemic and Search for a New Leader Leaving the Bureau at a Crossroads”, By Lev Facher

Jennifer Haberkorn: The New York Times’ “The FDA rushed to a drug for premature births. Does it accelerate science?”By Christina Jewett

Rachana Pradhan: Washington Posts “‘Is this what a good mother looks like?‘”by William Wan

Also discussed in this week’s podcast:

Wall Street Journals “You probably do not need a fourth Covid shot”, By Philip Krause and Luciana Borio

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to KHN’s What the Health? on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Cast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

This story is produced by KHN (Kaiser Health News), a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operational programs KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a non-profit organization that provides information on health issues to the nation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operational programs KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a non-profit organization that provides information on health issues to the nation.

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