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Biden Hopes to Increase Respite Care Funding

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What You Need to Know

  • The discretionary funding request is a general description of part of the upcoming formal budget request.
  • Overall federal discretionary spending would increase to 8.4%, to $1.5 trillion.
  • The funding request also includes a $3.9 billion increase in funding for efforts to fight opioid use.

President Joe Biden has proposed doubling spending on the federal Lifespan Respite Care program in federal fiscal year 2022.

The program provides grants that states can use to pay for short-term home care and other services for family caregivers who want to take time off from caregiving.

The current federal respite program law, the Lifespan Respite Care Program Reauthorization Act of 2020, became law Jan. 5. The current law provides $10 million in respite program funding per year. The Biden administration does not give a dollar value for anticipated fiscal year 2022 spending on respite care, but it appears to indicate that spending would increase to $20 million per year.

Biden included the proposed increase in respite care funding in his administration’s discretionary funding request for fiscal year 2022.

The federal government also provides respite care funding for a separate program that serves disabled armed services veterans.

Federal fiscal year 2022 will start Oct. 1.

The discretionary funding request is a general description of what the Biden administration expects to put in the formal budget request documents later this spring.

Other Spending

Federal law requires the government to spend large amounts on Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits and other entitlement programs. The discretionary funding covers other types of spending, such as funding of U.S. defense programs, research programs and health program administration.

The Biden administration plans to ask Congress to increase discretionary spending to $1.5 trillion in fiscal year 2022, up 8.4% from the fiscal year 2021 total.

Funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs included in the discretionary budget authority would increase 23%, to $46 billion.

In addition to the increase in funding for respite care programs, the Biden discretionary funding request would:

  • Increase funding for fighting the opioid epidemic to $10.7 billion, from $3.9 billion. Some analysts have suggested that opioid use may have had a noticeable effect on the lifespan of people with life insurance as well as on the lifespan of people without life insurance.
  • Start a $6.5 billion Advanced Research Projects for Health, or ARPA-H, to increase federal research spending on efforts to fight cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other conditions that cause illness, disability and death.
  • Provide $670 million in funding for fighting HIV and AIDS. It’s not clear whether this amount is in place of or in addition to the $716 million funding for fighting HIV and AIDS included in the budget request the administration of former President Donald Trump prepared for fiscal year 2021. The funding for 2022 would help HHS increase patients’ access to treatment, expand the use of pre-exposure prevent measures, and “ensure equitable access to services supports,” officials say.

U.S President Joe Biden. (Image: lev radin/Shutterstock)