President Biden ran for office on the belief that Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver progress for the American people. Since taking office, the President has rallied bipartisan support to advance critical national priorities—from securing a once-in-a-generation investment to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, to reauthorizing and strengthening the Violence Against Women Act, to delivering urgent aid to communities rebuilding from natural disasters, to securing additional assistance for Ukraine.
During his first State of the Union address, President Biden outlined a four-part unity agenda focused on areas where members of both parties can come together and make additional progress for the American people.The President’s fiscal year 2023 Budget advances this unity agenda through targeted investments to take on the mental health crisis, accelerate progress against cancer, deliver on our commitment to veterans, and combat the opioid epidemic. Importantly, the Budget will make these critical investments while cutting the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade and ensuring that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes.
Specifically, the resources requested as part of the President’s FY23 Budget will:
Prioritize Mental Health
Mental health is essential to overall health, and the United States faces a mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this crisis, the Budget proposes reforms to health coverage and major investments in the mental health workforce. These investments will mean:
- Expanded Coverage and Reduced Costs for Mental Health Services. For people with private health insurance, the Budget requires all health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits and ensures that plans have an adequate network of behavioral health providers. For Medicare, TRICARE, the VA healthcare system, health insurance issuers, group health plans, and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, the Budget lowers costs for mental health services for patients. The Budget also requires parity in coverage between mental health and substance use disorder (or behavioral health) and other medical benefits, and expands the types of providers covered under Medicare to treat these conditions.
- More Mental Health Providers. The Budget invests in increasing the number of mental health providers serving Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as in behavioral health workforce development and service expansion, including in primary care clinics and at non-traditional sites. The Budget also provides sustained and increased funding for community-based centers and clinics, including a State option to receive enhanced Medicaid reimbursement on a permanent basis. In addition, the Budget makes historic investments in youth mental health and suicide prevention programs and in training, educational loan repayment, and scholarships that help address the shortage of behavioral health providers, especially in underserved communities.
- A Better National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Budget strengthens access to crisis services by building out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which will transition from a ten-digit number to 988 in July 2022. It also supports the implementation of the Veterans Crisis Line’s 988 expansion initiative.
Drive Transformational Innovation to Fight Cancer
The President has put forward a bold vision to unlock transformative breakthroughs in health and science that will improve the health of all Americans and end cancer as we know it. Through the bipartisan government funding law, the President secured funding to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which will drive breakthroughs in biomedicine and help prevent, detect, and treat diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. The Budget for fiscal year 2023 builds on this progress by:
- Accelerating Innovation in Biomedicine. The Budget proposes a major investment of $5 billion for ARPA-H, significantly increasing direct Federal research and development spending in health. With an initial focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and dementia, this major investment would drive transformational innovation in health technologies and speed the application and implementation of health breakthroughs.
- Reigniting the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The Budget proposes investments in ARPA-H, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer by working toward reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improving the experience of people who are living with or who have survived cancer.
Deliver on Our Commitments to Veterans
The President has always believed that we have a sacred obligation to our service members, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. The Budget for fiscal year 2023:
- Prioritizes Veteran Medical Care. The Budget provides $119 billion—a historic 32 percent increase above the 2021 enacted level—to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare quality and delivery, including investments in training programs for clinicians, health professionals, and medical students. With more women choosing VA for their healthcare than ever before, the Budget also invests $9.8 billion for all of women veterans’ healthcare, including $767 million towards women’s gender specific care.
- Bolsters Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness. The Budget increases resources for veterans’ homelessness programs to $2.7 billion, with the goal of ensuring every veteran has permanent, sustainable housing with access to healthcare and other supportive services to prevent and end veteran homelessness.
- Invests in Caregivers Support Program. The Budget recognizes the important role of family caregivers in supporting the health and wellness of veterans, and provides $1.8 billion for the Program of Comprehensive Support for Family Caregivers, which includes stipend payments and support services to help empower family caregivers of eligible veterans.
- Supports Research Critical to Veterans’ Health Needs. The Budget provides $916 million to continue the development of VA’s research enterprise, including research in support of American Pandemic Preparedness plan goals. The Budget invests $81 million within VA research programs for precision oncology to provide access to the best possible cancer care for veterans.
- Addresses Environmental Exposures. The Budget increases resources for new presumptive disability compensation claims related to environmental exposures from military service. The Budget also invests $51 million within VA research programs and $63 million within the VA medical care program to increase scientific understanding of and clinical support for veterans potentially impacted by environmental exposures during military service.
- Honors the Memory of All Veterans. The Budget includes $430 million to ensure veterans and their families have access to exceptional memorial benefits, including two new and replacement national cemeteries. These funds maintain national shrine standards at the 158 VA managed cemeteries and provide the initial operational investment required to open new cemeteries.
Address the Opioid and Drug Overdose Epidemic
The drug overdose epidemic claimed an estimated 104,000 lives in the twelve-month period ending in September, 2021. To end this epidemic, a full range of service and supports are needed for individuals who use or are at risk of using substances that cause overdose, and their families. The Budget invests in services that prevent substance use disorder, expand quality evidence-based treatment, and help individuals sustain recovery. The Budget also supports the VA’s Opioid Prevention and Treatment programs, including programs in support of the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act.