Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 19 Health Spending Bill
Just before the July 4th recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 12 bills as a first step to setting funding levels across the federal government for fiscal year 2019, including a package for key health, education, and labor programs. A key focus in the proposal is combating opioid addiction, which marks a 1,275% increase in funding over the past 4 years for prevention, treatment, recovery, and research programs. As currently written, the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would see significant increases in their topline budgets.
Committee funding recommendations include the following levels for key behavioral health programs:
|Agency/Program||FY 2019 Funding||FY 2019 vs FY 2018|
|Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration||$5.7 billion||+$558 million|
|Mental Health Block Grant||$747 million||+$25 million|
|Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant||$1.9 billion||Level funding|
|Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration||$49.9 million||Level funding|
|PBHCI Technical Assistance and Training Center||$2 million||Level funding|
|Mental Health First Aid||$22 million||+$2 million|
|State Opioid Response Grants (as provided by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018)||$1.5 billion||+$500 million|
|Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) Expansion Grants||$150 million||+$50 million|
|National Institutes of Health||$39 billion||+$2 billion|
All 12 spending bills that have been approved by the Appropriations Committee now head to the floor for a vote by the full Senate. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated that he would like to bring both the Labor-HHS bill and the Senate’s FY19 Department of Defense (DOD) spending bill to the Senate floor in late July. Meanwhile, the House is working on their own budget process and recommendations, and differences between the two chambers’ final packages will need to be reconciled before being enacted.