FY2012 President's Budget For Health Human Services
One of the most prominent roles of the federal government in health care is as a purchaser of health insurance and third-party payer for health care. The federal government serves in this capacity for almost forty million elderly and disabled persons, nine million federal government employees and their dependants, and six million active members of the military and their families. It finances, in combination with the states, state-run insurance programs for the poor and near-poor children. It runs a health care delivery system intended to serve military veterans. Additionally, the federal government influences the health system by serving as a main locus for collecting health data and the principal source of funding for health services research. Notably missing is a national health planning task, although various federal agencies track health system characteristics, trends and aspects of performance (Public and private sector roles in the U.S. health system, 2002).
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the United States government's main agency for caring for the health of all Americans and providing vital human services, particularly for those who are least able to help themselves. On a federal level, public health infrastructure...
"HHS represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and it administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. HHS' Medicare program is the nation's largest health insurer, handling more than 1 billion claims per year" (The Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).
Medicare and Medicaid together supply health care insurance for nearly a quarter of all Americans. HHS works hand in hand with state and local governments, and a lot of HHS-funded services are offered at the local level by state or county agencies, or through private sector organizations. The Department's programs are carried out eleven operating divisions, comprising eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies. "The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. In addition to the services they provide, deliver, the HHS programs provide for equitable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they enable the collection of national health and other data. Departmental leadership is provided by the Office of the Secretary. Also included in the Department is the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Office of Public Health and Science, the Office of the HHS Inspector General and the HHS Office for Civil Rights. In addition, the Program Support Center, a self-supporting division of the Department, provides administrative services for HHS and other federal agencies" (Overview, n.d.).
According to the data from the FY2012 budget it appears that the Department of Health and Human Services is spending the majority of their funds on carrying out the primary role of the Government in relation to public health. With over 80% of the budget going towards Medicare and Medicaid it would appear that they are trying to carry out their main objective of purchaser of health insurance and third-party payer for health care.
When answering the question of what is public health, there are a variety of resources that one can look at to obtain information. The ones that appear to be the best about providing information to answer this question are:
American Public Health Association: http://www.apha.org
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.dhhs.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov…
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