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President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal was released Monday. It recommends investments around pandemic preparedness, public health infrastructure, mental health care, and more health-related measures.

Modern Healthcare: Biden Proposes Nearly 27% Funding Increase For HHS

The Health and Human Services Department would get a 26.8% spending boost in fiscal 2023 under a budget proposal the White House issued Monday. The budget plan outlines President Joe Biden’s health priorities, which include improving public health infrastructure, advancing mental healthcare and making maternal health more equitable. Biden is asking Congress to authorize $127.3 billion in discretionary funding for HHS, or $26.9 billion more than the department’s allotment for fiscal 2021. The White House compared its budget proposals to fiscal 2021 because Congress only passed fiscal 2022 appropriations earlier this month. (Goldman, 3/28)

The New York Times: Biden’s Budget Proposal Pushes For More Pandemic Preparedness And Local Public Health Spending

President Biden’s proposed budget for the Department of Health and Human Services emphasizes pandemic preparedness, signaling the administration’s concern about future pathogens that could complicate progress against the coronavirus or threaten a different pandemic altogether. Swaths of the proposed spending would build on funding passed by Congress earlier this month as part of a major annual spending bill. The budget proposes an increase of nearly 27 percent in discretionary funding for HHS over spending in 2021. (Weiland, Sanger-Katz and Patil, 3/29)

In news about ARPA-H —

Stat: Lawmakers, Pelosi Aide Turn Lobbyist To Push For ARPA-H’s Independence

Health secretary Xavier Becerra is suddenly the target of a frenzied lobbying campaign aimed at ensuring the independence of ARPA-H, the new high-stakes research agency that President Biden has said will “end cancer as we know it.” But in a strange turn, many of the lobbyists are actually lawmakers. In recent days, Becerra has met with members of Congress, and a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a far more powerful set than the cohort of patient advocates or pharma and hospital representatives who usually seek meetings at the Humphrey building. By and large, their message has been identical: That for the new agency to succeed, it must exist independently of the National Institutes of Health. (Facher, 3/29)

In other news from the Biden administration —

Politico: A Google Billionaire’s Fingerprints Are All Over Biden’s Science Office

As President Joe Biden granted his science office unprecedented access and power, one outside adviser to that office has attained what staffers describe as an unusual level of influence. A foundation controlled by Eric Schmidt, the multi-billionaire former CEO of Google, has played an extraordinary, albeit private, role in shaping the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy over the past year. (Thompson, 3/28)

AP: Fauci Named Keynote Speaker At Roger Williams U Commencement

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, will deliver the keynote address at Roger Williams University’s commencement ceremony, the Rhode Island school announced Monday. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, will also receive an honorary degree at the May 20 exercise, the school said. (3/28)

In updates from the Supreme Court —

AP: Justice Thomas Joins Arguments Remotely After Hospital Stay

Justice Clarence Thomas participated in arguments at the Supreme Court via telephone rather than in person on Monday following a hospital stay of nearly a week. Chief Justice John Roberts said at the beginning of arguments that the 73-year-old Thomas would be “participating remotely this morning,” but did not say why. (3/28)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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