Senate Omnibus Bill Includes Food Safety, Other Health Measures
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released a draft of the Senate omnibus fiscal year 2011 spending bill that includes funding for several health-related initiatives, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The package includes 12 regular spending bills for FY 2011, which began on Oct. 1, in addition to policy provisions.
Health-related items in the proposal include:
- A $750 million increase for biomedical research at NIH, bringing the agency's FY 2011 total to $31.8 billion;
- $564.8 million for a public health initiative to reduce and prevent chronic diseases related to obesity;
- An increase of $160 million to combat fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, bringing CMS' FY 2011 total to $471 million;
- $577.1 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- a 3.3% increase over FY 2010 -- as well as $373.1 million, a 4.4% increase, for the Mine Safety and Health Administration;
- A $224 million increase for various health training programs; and
- $5 million to support the establishment of collaborative care networks, such as medical homes (Bunis, CQ HealthBeat, 12/14).
Food Safety Provision Added
The Senate committee also attached food safety legislation (S 510) to the draft spending bill, CQ Today reports (Ferguson, CQ Today, 12/14).
The measure would authorize increased government authority and involvement in food-related recalls and processing plant inspections. FDA would have enforcement powers in monitoring 80% of the national food supply.
After the Senate recently approved the food safety legislation, House Democrats questioned the constitutionality of the bill because of a revenue-raising provision.
House members sought to correct the drafting error by rolling the legislation first into a $1.2 trillion continuing resolution (HR 3082) that would set federal spending through the remainder of FY 2011 (California Healthline, 12/9).
Republicans Respond to Health Spending in Omnibus
Republicans balked at the omnibus package because it includes more than $1 billion in total funding to implement the federal health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The GOP has pledged to limit congressional appropriations for the overhaul during the next legislative session (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 12/14). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said, "This bill â¦ funds the unconstitutional ObamaCare law that Americans oppose and have asked Congress to fully repeal" (Smith/Ethridge, CQ Today, 12/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.