U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee that oversees much of the agency’s FY 2013 budget, stressing the need to strengthen healthcare, especially for seniors and young children, while detractors complained about the increase in mandatory health care spending.
“Beginning in 2014, affordable insurance exchanges will provide improved access to insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans,” Sebelius testified.
Ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in his testimony that over next 10 years total mandatory spending for Medicare and Medicaid will exceed $11 trillion.
Hatch had placards made highlighting critical editorial quotes on the President’s budget and the spending projection numbers. Hatch also brought up the contraception coverage and religious exemption rule and challenged Sebelius on whether she had met with any Catholic Bishops before issuing the final rule.
Sebelius says legislative proposals would save more than $360 billion, mostly from Medicaid and Medicare, over 10 years.
The proposed HHS budget totals $940.9 billion in outlays and proposes $76.7 billion in discretionary spending.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requesting an additional $1 billion in discretionary funding to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act, including the exchanges, and to help keep up with the growth in Medicare.