Hearings on the Hill: HHS FY 2013 Budget Gets Spotlight in Congress

Congress is in session and committees are taking a look at the President’s proposed FY 2013 budget and important issues for the year, health care among them.  Last week, we blogged that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius was testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the proposed FY 2013 HHS Budget.  Across the Capitol, a Health Center witness testified before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Primary Health Care and Aging in a hearing on the dental crisis and access challenges.  This week, Secretary Sebelius will be back in front of Congress testifying before both the House and Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) Subcommittees on the President’s FY 2013 HHS budget request.  We’ve been watching these hearings closely to hear what the Secretary has to say – here are some resources so you can follow along from home:

LAST WEEK:  House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health

Last week, Secretary Sebelius testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health to answer Members’ questions about the President’s FY 2013 HHS budget request.  During her opening statement the Secretary highlighted the health center funding in the FY 2013 request and stressed that the Administration continues to support investing in primary care capacity and workforce, especially in underserved communities.  The hearing took on a political tone at times with questions about implementation of the Affordable Care Act You can watch a recording of the hearing here.

LAST WEEK:  Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging

Last week, a health center CEO from Vermont testified in front of Senator Bernie Sanders’ HELP Subcommittee in a hearing highlighting dental care access, “Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access.”  Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region CEO Grant Whitmer spoke about how their health center is striving to meet the growing need for dental care in the community; he was joined by an advanced dental therapist from Minnesota and a private dentist from Louisiana as well as panelists representing the academic and policy perspective.  The Subcommittee released a report on the issue here.

THIS WEEK:  House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

On Tuesday, Secretary Sebelius will testify before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee where she will answer questions on the President’s proposed FY 2013 budget for HHS.  This is one of a series of budget-focused hearings the Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees are conducting as they work toward a House FY 2013 budget proposal and then begin the annual discretionary appropriations process.  Although this hearing will not be televised or recorded, NACHC will be there watching for any mention of Health Center funding and priorities.

THIS WEEK:  Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

After testifying before the House Appropriators, Secretary Sebelius will appear before their Senate counterparts, speaking again about the President’s FY 2013 HHS budget request on Wednesday morning.  This hearing will be webcast from the Senate Appropriations committee’s website and you can watch it or access it later here.

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