On Sept. 7, 2017, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 29-2 to advance its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) spending bill. In total, $164.1 billion in discretionary funding was provided, $3 billion above fiscal 2017 levels and $8.1 billion above the House’s Labor-HHS bill approved last July.
Notably, the Senate bill provides $36.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase over FY2017 and a $6 billion, or 20 percent, increase for NIH over the past three years. It also provides $816 million in funding for opioid abuse prevention and recovery, an increase of $655 million, or 440 percent, over the past two years.
There is no guarantee that the provisions found within the Senate Committee-approved bill will make it into law as the bill still needs to be approved by the full Senate, reconciled with the House bill, and then signed by the President. What is likely to happen is that selected provisions from both the House and Senate Labor-HHS funding bills will be incorporated into an omnibus appropriations bill to be taken up later this year.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD is awaiting the release of the official Committee report, which will detail Congressional directives to agencies as well as specific funding amounts for key oral health programs.