Press release: Bingaman: White House budget highlights health care, education

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today voiced strong support for President Obama’s health care and education priorities for next year.

The White House today unveiled its fiscal year 2011 budget proposal, which among other things highlights how completing work on health insurance reform can provide major savings. The president’s proposal includes the enactment of health insurance reform proposals being debated in Congress.

Savings would be achieved through reducing wasteful spending, improving quality and incentivizing more efficient care, among other initiatives.

To help states weather this difficult economic period, the president’s proposal contains $25.5 billion for additional Medicaid assistance that will help defray health care costs for millions of Americans. This

support is a continuation of an initiative first funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year. New Mexico would receive roughly an additional $100 million, which would provide an additional 6 months of

Recovery funding.

“Health care reform continues to be a top priority for the Obama administration and for me. Not only are there short-term health care benefits to be gained by passing health insurance reform, there are long-term fiscal benefits to be gained, as well,” Bingaman said. “I hope we soon get back to work on this very important issue.”

“But in the meantime, I’m pleased with the emphasis the Obama administration has placed on our nation’s – and New Mexico’s – health care delivery system. Overall, this budget makes some important health care investments in health care,” he added.

The president’s budget includes the following for national health care initiatives:

• $2.5 billion for health centers to provide affordable high quality primary and preventive care to underserved populations, including the uninsured.

• $169 million – a $27 million increase – in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to place providers in medically underserved areas to improve access to needed health care services. Under the NHSC, primary health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and dentists agree to serve in a medically underserved community in exchange for having a portion of their student loans paid off.

• $4.4 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to expand investments initiated in 2010.

• $1 billion per year as part of the reauthorization of the school meals program and other child nutrition programs to help improve children’s access to healthy meals and help to reduce childhood obesity rates.

In the area of education, the president’s budget would increase education by about 6 percent. According to White House calculations, the proposal contains at least $437.6 million for New Mexico’s elementary and secondary