On June 16 the U.S. House Appropriations Committee released its draft fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill. Although the draft bill would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 3.6 percent, it would eliminate the Health & Human Services’ Agency for Health Research on Quality (AHRQ).
The draft bill would keep funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT the same as last year at $60.4 million, while the Obama administration had requested an increase to $91.8 million. The bill would cut funding for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services $344 million below 2015 funding levels and $919 million below the administration’s budget request.
A statement from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) called aspects of the draft bill troubling. It noted that termination of the $465 million AHRQ would severely impact the development of evidence-based care. One of AHRQ’s areas of focus is health information technology research, and its 2016 budget request called for a total of $20 million in research grant support.
The AAMC notes that the draft bill rescinds approximately $7 billion from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and $100 million from the Patient Center Research Outcomes Institutes (PCORI), a move that undercuts “efforts to transform patient care,” adding that “the subcommittee’s allocation is insufficient to meet the nation’s health needs.”