HHS Budget For 2012 Announced: A Peek At Obama's Health Priorities

02/15/2011 12:53 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The White House announced yesterday its 2012 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Although the $79.9 billion President Obama is requesting in discretionary spending for the HHS Department is "slightly above the 2010 funding level," The Washington Post points out that figure actually represents a slight decrease from the agency's Fiscal Year 2010 budget -- by some 0.9 percent.

Not surprisingly, Medicaid and Medicare funding make up some 85 percent of the budget, or $892 billion.

One of the key goals set forth by the budget is the advancement of scientific and medical innovation, which is why a whopping $31.8 billion was included for the NIH (up $745 million from 2010).

"In FY 2010, NIH estimates it will support a total of 36, 852 research grants," the budget document states -- research the White House hopes will lead to advances in biomedics, genomics, and stem cell biology, thus "shortening the pathway from discovery to revolutionary treatments for a wide range of diseases, such as Alzheimer's cancer, autism, diabetes and obesity."

Also getting a fair amount of loot is the CDC, which in conjunction with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is slated to get $11.3 billion this year. Just over one billion of that is intended for the prevention of STDs domestically. And another $47 million has been set aside for combatting healthcare-associated infections (i.e. staph infections), something that will not only save lives, but could also save up to $8 billion per year in healthcare costs.

To hear it all straight from the horse's mouth, check out the live press conference with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (and friends).


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