President’s Request: Health Preparedness, Vulnerable Communities

Legislation | April 12, 2021 | by Andrea Price-Carter

The Biden administration released its Budget Request for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) on April 9, 2022, a document signaling the President's discretionary priorities for the coming year. The request provides the Administration’s proposal for topline funding, and a range of proposals that lay a foundation for this year’s appropriation process.

President Biden’s discretionary funding request offers a blueprint for Congress to build on the successes of the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and complement the goals of the President’s infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan. The President believes now is the time to build on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the public health infrastructure.

A Statement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on the President’s FY22 Budget Request highlighted, “COVID-19 shed light on how health inequities and lack of federal funding left communities vulnerable to crises. The President’s funding request invests in America, addresses racial disparities in health care, tackles the opioid crisis, and puts us on a better footing to take on the next public health crisis.” The budget requests more than a 23% increase for HHS over the 2021 enacted level. The White House also wants to use the budget to tackle other public health crises, such as requesting $8.7 billion for the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), that could be used to modernize and improve public health data.

LeadingAge supports the request’s building on significant investments provided in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 which allocates additional resources for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help older adults and people with disabilities maximize their independence and well-being. The request provides relief to caregivers and families, including $551 million for home and community-based services, doubles funding for the Lifespan Respite Care program, increases resources for meal programs for older Americans, and expands services for individuals with disabilities. (Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs, and not included in the discretionary budget.)

The budget request also asks for a big increase in funding to increase access to mental health services through investments in the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and by calling for $10.7 billion for research, prevention, treatment related to substance use.