by Bobby Jindal and Abigail Slagle
People should not expect the Biden administration to solve problems with the healthcare system anytime soon.
In fact, the president’s 2023 budget exacerbates some healthcare challenges. Policies contained in Biden’s budget continue to cater to a far-left agenda and perpetuate leading from behind on COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have mismanaged their response to recent COVID-19 variants and handed down confusing, inconsistent guidance on masking, quarantining, and testing. As a result, trust in the CDC has declined from 69% in April 2020 to 44% in January 2022. Instead of implementing increased oversight at the CDC, the Biden administration proposes to give $9.9 billion of discretionary funding to “build up capacity.” This is a $2.8 billion increase over the 2021 enacted level and is proposed at a time when the agency is performing a sweeping review of its processes. A better approach would be to restore confidence and enhance pandemic preparedness through responsible use of public health dollars.
The Biden administration’s budget also ignores two of the country’s most pressing healthcare problems: the impending financial collapse of entitlement programs that seniors depend on and the overburdening of healthcare providers.
Medicare, which insures 18% of all Americans and nearly all over age 65, is in serious financial trouble. Medicare Part A, which covers hospital services, is projected to be insolvent by 2026. Additionally, Social Security is projected to be unable to cover full benefits by 2034. Biden’s budget does nothing to address this. Other members of his political party have notably proposed to lower the age to qualify for Medicare to 60, which would immediately add 23 million people to a program already on unsure financial footing. Rather than expanding Medicare, these programs should be shored up to ensure availability for seniors who depend on them.
The budget also advances a left-leaning agenda over addressing the needs of healthcare providers. Nearly 54% of doctors report at least one symptom of burnout, and some doctors reportedly spend nearly half their workday on administrative tasks. Paperwork and administrative burdens are among the most-cited reasons for physician burnout. Rather than act to alleviate this situation, the Biden administration’s budget gives $470 million to “implement implicit bias training for health care providers,” among other initiatives to advance politically correct notions of health equity. Instead of additional government requirements, promoting direct care models can help strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and ensure that patients receive the quality care they need.
Biden also wants $400 million to go to the Title X Family Planning program. This provides family planning services and abortion access to low-income women. This is a 40% increase from the 2021 enacted level and builds on the Biden administration’s broadened abortion access after the Trump administration’s restrictions. Abortion is consistently associated with higher levels of mental illness in women. Women and families deserve better.
Additionally, the president’s proposed budget will invest in firearm safety research to “address gun violence as a public health epidemic.” As communities across the nation experience growing crime rates, responsible policy would focus on strengthening law and order in our neighborhoods. If the Left continues to cry wolf and classify everything as an epidemic, then nothing is an epidemic.
The healthcare provisions in Biden’s budget show this administration continues to sing out of tune with the nation’s needs. We should look to states to make meaningful changes to bring people more choice and lower healthcare costs.