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February 9, 2016

Today’s Spotlight: Pentagon Health Spending

Health care policy mavens are likely to congregate at a House hearing this morning on medical technology innovation. However, Congress is in the middle of the annual appropriations bill season and the Senate Appropriations Committee will be marking up a bill with a large health care component — the fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill.

The measure is not a typical spotlight item for health policy issues, but the military’s system — which provides care to personnel and families — is the fastest growing segment of Defense Department spending. Additionally, the Pentagon engages in a range of medical research projects.

The measure is an example of the wide scope of federal health care spending, which is included in many different annual spending bills. Here is a quick rundown of health some elements in the various spending bills:

  • Labor-HHS-Education: Provides funding for the bulk of the Department of Health and Human Services and the administration of the Medicare and Medicaid programs
  • Agriculture-FDA: USDA food safety programs and FDA drug and device supervision
  • Defense: military health programs and medical research
  • Military Construction-VA: Veterans’ health care programs and facilities
  • State-Foreign Operations: International health care assistance funding
  • Interior-Environment: Indian Health Service
  • Homeland Security: Emergency medical response programs
  • Commerce-Justice: Law enforcement of health programs, recently tied to relaxing enforcement of state marijuana laws
  • Financial Services: IRS funding for health care overhaul coverage mandate enforcement, plus Treasury Department marijuana vendor banking rules and District of Columbia health programs.
  • Transportation-HUD: In past, has included housing mortgage assistance programs that include hospitals and health care facilities.

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