Biden Administration Releases First Budget, Proposes Significant Increases for Key Health, Education Priorities
On May 28, the Biden Administration released its first full budget containing detailed program funding proposals for fiscal year 2022. In a notable reversal following several years of proposed cuts to key federal investments in health workforce development, the FY22 budget contains significant increases for many of PAEA’s long-standing funding priorities.
Building upon the Administration’s shared focus on health equity and workforce diversity, the budget proposes substantial new investments in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Training for Diversity programs. These investments include $18 million for the Health Careers Opportunity Program to expand targeted K-16 outreach and education efforts for disadvantaged students interested in the health professions, which represents a 23% increase over the FY21 funding level. Further, to ensure the availability of a diverse faculty workforce as health professions programs continue to expand, the budget proposes $2.2 million for the Faculty Loan Repayment program. Compared with FY21, this constitutes a 100% increase in the program funding level.
In addition to increased investments in existing programs, the budget also proposes the creation of a new $200 million Health Professionals of the Future program to support the development and/or expansion of new graduate-level health professions programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). This proposal mirrors a policy goal included in the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act that would increase the availability of federal funds for the development of PA programs at MSIs.
Beyond workforce diversity, the budget also targets new investments to expand the supply of substance use disorder treatment providers. Specifically, the budget proposes a 50% increase for behavioral health workforce development programs over the FY21 funding level. Such programs include the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment program and the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment program, both of which support the PA profession.
In mid-May, PAEA submitted testimony to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations subcommittee on PA education’s top priorities for FY22. The Association echoed the call of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) for a total of $1.51 billion for the Title VII and VIII health workforce development programs administered by HRSA. If enacted, this would represent the most significant increase for these programs in recent history at approximately double the current funding level.
Over the coming months, the House and Senate Appropriations committees will be tasked with composing and passing legislation to set final funding levels for FY22. Throughout this process, PAEA’s Government Relations team will continue to vigorously advocate for increased investments reflecting and, for certain programs, exceeding the levels proposed in the Administration’s budget.
Members with questions on the Biden Administration’s FY22 budget and PAEA’s budget and appropriations advocacy work are invited to contact Tyler Smith at tsmith@PAEAonline.org.