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Stephanie Pellitt

, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Panel Approves FY 20 Health Funding Levels

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On Tuesday, the appropriations subcommittee that covers health care programs approved funding levels for federal health spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. As expected, the bill largely ignores proposed cuts from President Trump’s budget and assumes that Congress will reach a deal to avoid upcoming budget caps. As currently written, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill would prioritize efforts to address the opioid crisis and increase medical research.

The legislation would set the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) budget overall at $99 billion, or $20.9 billion more than was requested by President Trump in his budget proposal. To address the opioid addiction crisis, the bill contains funding increases for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as well as the National Institutes of Health or NIH. Find the full bill text here and accompanying press release.

Topline subcommittee funding levels include:


Agency FY 2020 Funding FY 2020 vs FY 2019
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) $5.9 billion +$115 million
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Overall funding $41.1 billion +$2 billion
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) $1.5 billion +$70 million
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) $551 million +$25 million
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) $1.9 billion Level funding
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) $4 billion +$315 million
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) $8.3 billion +$921 million


SAMHSA funding includes increased support for:

  • Mental health resources for children and youth including $84 million for Project AWARE, an increase of $13 million; and $71 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, an increase of $7 million.
  • Suicide prevention including $14 million for the Zero Suicide program, an increase of $5 million; and $17 million for the Suicide Lifeline, an increase of $5 million.
  • Substance use treatment: $3.8 billion, an increase of $14 million, including continued funding for opioid prevention and treatment, and three new behavioral health programs to enhance treatment efforts.
    • Included in this figure are the State Opioid Response (SOR) grants, which would be level funded at $1.5 billion. $50,000,000 of the $1.5 billion for SOR shall be made available to Indian Tribes or tribal organizations. 15% of the remaining amount shall be for the states with the highest opioid-related mortality rate.
  • Substance abuse prevention: $212 million, an increase of $7 million above the 2019 enacted level.

Additionally, expansion grants to help clinics expand access to mental health and substance use services via Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) would be level funded at $150 million.


This subcommittee vote is the first step in the long process of funding the federal government. This funding measure now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee for its consideration and approval, potentially as early as next week. Ultimately, overall spending levels for FY 20 will be constrained by a forthcoming potential deal between Congress and President Trump around lifting the impending budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011, commonly known as sequestration.