On February 14, 2010, President Obama submitted his budget for the 2012 Fiscal Year. Under increased pressure to reduce discretionary spending in order to reduce the deficit, the President’s $3.7 million plan freezes discretionary spending for five years and cuts or terminates more than 200 programs. The budget freezes funding for many important health-related programs, but manages to preserve the core of many initiatives designed to increase access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. The budget reveals the President’s continued commitment to make progress on reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and to expand access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities, supporting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Through his Budget Request, the President aims “to make progress on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies.” The President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which provides grants to public and private entities to fund evidence-based and innovative, medically accurate, and age-appropriate programs that reduce teen pregnancy, is funded at last year’s level of $110 million. This funding will be administered by the Office of Adolescent Health and continues to include $75 million for programs that replicate rigorously evaluated effective programs; $25 million for promising models and innovative approaches; and $10 million for program support, training, technical assistance, and evaluation. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive $22 million for teen pregnancy prevention to fund nine state- and community-based organizations and five national organizations to promote the use of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. This program supports the use of science-based and medically accurate material on teen pregnancy prevention.The President’s Budget Request also includes $327 million for Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the nation’s primary source of funding for family planning for low-income women—an increase of $11 million.
The budget “expands access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment activities and supports the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.” It prioritizes HIV/AIDS resources within communities at highest risk, including men who have sex with men, African Americans, and Latinos, and realigns resources within the CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Office of the Secretary to support the National HIV/AIDS Federal Implementation Plan. In addition to increasing HIV/AIDS funding for critical research, the President’s budget invests approximately $3.5 billion for discretionary HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment activities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase access to prevention services and align activities with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. This includes $858 million for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC, an increase of $58 million, and increasing funding for programs specifically targeting gay and bisexual men by $20.4 million. The administration preserves $40 million for school-based HIV prevention and sex education programs and moves the funding from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. The budget increases resources for the Ryan White program to ensure the continuation of care and treatment programs and “expand access to life-saving HIV-related medications”; it also includes $22 million for the continuation of the Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Planning and Implementation for Metropolitan Statistical Areas Most Affected by HIV/AIDS program at the CDC..
“We are grateful to the President for the places in this budget where he did the right thing for the health and welfare of millions of Americans and continued to fund vital health programs instead of cutting them,” comments Monica Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “We need leadership and investment in the health and future of our nation, not short-term remedies and slash-and-burn cuts such as those that were proposed last week by the House Republicans. The GOP’s shortsighted cuts will only lead to greater costs in the future.”
For more information about the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request:
Lori Montgomery, “Obama’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal 2012 Focuses on Education, Energy, Research,” Washington Post, 15 February 2011, accessed 6 March 2011, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/14/AR2011021406234.html>.
“Helping Women and Girls Win the Future,” Office of Management and Budget, accessed 6 March 2011, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/factsheet/helping-women-and-girls-win-the-future>.
“Department of Health and Human Services,” Office of Management and Budget, accessed 6 March 2011, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/health.pdf>.