On Friday, May 28, the White House released President Biden’s complete fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request. While Presidential budgets are non-binding and do not carry the force of law, it does provide the first in-depth glimpse of the Biden Administration’s top spending priorities for the new federal fiscal year that begins on October 1st. The $6 trillion proposal increases federal health program spending by 23 percent over current funding levels. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Budget in Brief and health agency justification documents are available here.
Overall, the President’s budget includes a request for $10.7 billion to support programs to address the opioid and substance use crisis. This includes $6.6 billion for SAMHSA’s substance use prevention and treatment programs and $191 million for mental health programs, an increase of $2.7 billion over FY 2021 funding levels.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed a series of relief bills that have provided billions of dollars in emergency funding for substance use and mental health programs. President Biden’s FY 2022 budget request continues to build on these investments and proposes doubling the size of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant to $3.5 billion for FY 2022. The Administration estimates that this funding level would allow SAMHSA to serve 2.1 million people in FY 2022.
The President’s budget request also acknowledges that we need to continue investing in our health workforce and proposes $477.3 million for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), an increase of $47.3 million from current funding levels. The NHSC was developed to help expand the health workforce in underserved communities. Since FY 2018, funding has been appropriated to the NHSC for the express purpose of expanding and improving access to quality opioid and SUD treatment in rural and underserved areas nationwide.
The budget request also includes increasing the Behavioral Health Workforce Development Programs by $75 million to a funding level of $224.9 million. These programs provide federal funding to expand the number of behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals entering the health workforce. This includes the Loan Repayment Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce, a program that will provide roughly $28 million in FY 2021, for repayment of educational loans for individuals working in a full-time SUD treatment job that involves direct patient care in either a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area or a county where the overdose death rate exceeds the national average.
Lastly, the budget request also includes $17.1 million for Minority Fellowship Programs that help grow the number of racial and ethnic minorities in the nation’s behavioral health workforce, along with roughly $21 million for salaries, expenses, and research at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Now that Congress has received the President’s budget request, lawmakers can begin working on their own budget outlines and spending bills. It’s expected that the House and Senate will begin drafting FY 2022 appropriations bills in June. Congress will need to reach a bipartisan agreement in the coming months to extend government funding past the end of the fiscal year that ends on September 30th. These negotiations are expected to continue through the summer and into fall.
NAADAC is pleased that the President’s budget proposes significant investments to continue building and maintaining a strong addition workforce and infrastructure to help take on our nation’s growing crisis. We look forward to working with our stakeholder partners to ensure the Congress continues these investments to expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those impacted by addiction.