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Health Policy and the Federal Budget

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Date Developed: February 2006. Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . Presenter(s): Tim Westmoreland. Type: Video. Level: Intermediate. Length: 20 minutes.


This presentation concisely defines terms related to the federal budget, provides an overview of the budget process and discusses how this process affects health policy. After defining revenues, spending, deficit, and debt, Professor Westmoreland presents important concepts related to the budget: types of spending, baseline, limits and scorekeeping. He then explains how the budget process causes four health policy problems: 1) discretionary spending can’t keep up with health care costs; 2) long-term expenditures are discouraged by the five-year time frame for scorekeeping; 3) tax spending (deductions, credits, etc.) are not clear and unevaluated; 4) scorekeeping overprices and undervalues health benefits.

Special Instructions website was closed in September 2013. Tutorials are no longer updated but due to demand by professors who are still using the tutorials in class assignments, the Kaiser Family Foundation has made them available for download on archive site. To access learning opportunity, download zip file and click "player.html."

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.