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Community Health Center Funding: Deeper Dive into President Biden’s FY 22 Budget

 
President Biden's FY 22 budget proposal contains a reduction in mandatory health center funding. Learn more about the budget process and what this means for health centers:  
 
On May 28, 2021, President Biden released his administration's FY 22 budget proposal. The President's budget request included a total reduction of $44.6M for community health center funding in FY 22 compared to FY 21.  

Although the budget included an additional $50M in discretionary funding, bringing the discretionary funding total to $1.73B in FY 22, this amount is not enough to offset the $94.7M reduction in mandatory funding. The increase in discretionary funding is also less than the $2.2B goal advocated for by health centers across the country. 
 
Why is there a reduction in mandatory health center funding? 
The reduction in mandatory funding is the result of budget sequestration, a process that triggers automatic cuts across certain federal programs.1 Budget sequestration was enacted in 2011 through the Budget Control Act. The Budget Control Act put spending caps on discretionary funding and instituted a process to result in $1.2T in savings through 2021.2 Some of the $1.2T in savings are achieved through across the board budget cuts for non-exempt mandatory programs.3  
 
How does budget sequestration affect other health center programs? 
Budget sequestration also affected workforce programs that health centers rely on including the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program. The President's budget included an $18M reduction in mandatory funding for the NHSC for FY 22, bringing the total mandatory funding to $292M. Funding for the THCGME program was also reduced by $7M. These programs assist health center in attracting a primary care workforce and training primary care providers in community health center settings. 
 
What may come next? 
The President's budget proposal illustrates the administration's priorities and included the following language, “The Administration also looks forward to working with the Congress to advance the President's goal of doubling the Federal investment in community health centers, which would help reduce health disparities by expanding access to care.” Due to sequestration, cuts to mandatory funding for health centers were proposed in FY 22. However, Congress controls budget legislation and has the ability to suspend the sequester, or raise the debt ceiling, the legal limit placed on the total amount of money the U.S. can borrow.4  
 
How You Can Help
Congress must continue to hear from advocates about the importance of investing in community health centers. Contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to support health centers! 
 
 
 
[1] "Sequestration | Congressional Budget Office", Cbo.Gov, accessed 10 June 2021, https://www.cbo.gov/topics/budget/sequestration.
[2] "The Annual Sequester Of Mandatory Spending Through FY2029", Everycrsreport.Com, Last modified 2019, https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R45941.html.
[3] Ibid.
[4] "Q&A: Everything You Should Know About The Debt Ceiling", Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget, Last modified 2019, https://www.crfb.org/papers/qa-everything-you-should-know-about-debt-ceiling#_Hlk431978414.