Sunday, October 2, 2011

Senate Approves FY 2012 Bill

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, Appropriations Subcommittee approved a FY 2012 bill that would provide $158 billion in funding. The bill provides $30.5 billion, a decrease of $190 million to fund biomedical research at the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise NIH. The bill also provides funds through several new initiatives called “Race for the Top” to provide for education reform, and the “Workforce Innovation Fund” to provide training,

The bill creates the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) but the bill would terminate the NIH National Center for Research Resources. A new program within NCATS called the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) is included in the bill to help speed the translation and application of discoveries that have shown signs of success at the laboratory level but have not advanced far enough to attract significant investments from the private sector.

The bill provides $20,000,000 for CAN to make grants to biotech companies, universities, and patient advocacy groups, and will also help FDA review for the high-need cures that are funded by this initiative.

The bill includes $4 billion to operate CMS while the FY 2011 level was $3.6 billion. Additional funding is needed to accommodate an increase in the Medicare population, as 2011-2012 are the first years that the baby boom generation will begin enrolling in this program.

The bill includes $581 million for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control activities at CMS. For fraud and abuse activities throughout Medicare and Medicaid, the Federal government saves or recovers $6 for every $1 spent.

The bill includes $1.6 billion for Community Health Centers (CHC). The FY 2012 program level for CHCs is $2.8 billion, an increase of $200 million. This level will enable base grant adjustments for all existing CHCs and the expansion of the national network of clinics. The bill also includes $678.6 million for Community Services Block Grants to help ensure a safety net at the local level for vulnerable Americans.

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