The Biden Administration released its initial budget request to Congress, which officially kicks off the Fiscal Year 2022 federal budget and appropriations process. President Biden’s budget requests the most significant increase (16%) to non-defense discretionary federal spending in over a decade to programs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Specifically, the President’s budget requests $8.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of a 23.1% increase to HHS over FY2021 levels. The Biden Administration is also requesting significant funding to modernize and improve our national public health infrastructure, including disease surveillance. Notably, the request also includes support for grants to children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These will help expand access to early intervention services for underserved, under-resourced, and minority children. Additionally, $150 million is requested for the CDC to address racial health disparities and social determinants of health. Finally, the request includes $51 billion to the National Institutes of Health in support of research through the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which would include an early focus on diabetes.
President Biden’s FY2022 budget request is a step in the right direction to end over a decade of underfunded programs that have stymied public health efforts to prevent blindness, address racial disparities and inequities in access to care, and promote early detection of blinding eye conditions for children, working adults, and aging Americans. A more detailed budget proposal that outlines specific funding levels for programs within the HHS and CDC, including the Vision and Eye Health and Glaucoma lines under the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is expected later this spring.
For more information on Prevent Blindness’s advocacy to increase vision and eye health funding at the CDC, please visit Improving Vision and Eye Health at the CDC.