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Highlights from the President's FY17 Department of Health and Human Services Budget Request

February 12, 2016

Enacted FY16 funding levels are used for comparisons unless otherwise noted.
The administration’s FY17 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is $82.8 billion in discretionary spending, reflecting a 0.8 percent decrease from FY16 enacted funding levels. Discretionary spending accounts for only 7.5 percent of the total proposed HHS budget. Mandatory spending for programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program account for the balance. Total FY17 budget authority for HHS would be $1.2 trillion (3 percent increase over FY16 enacted).  

The Budget provides $680 million to NIH for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot Program to expand clinical trials for health disparity populations, pursue new vaccine technology, and fund exceptional opportunities in cancer research.  These investments are intended to drive scientific advances that aim to understand the causes of cancer, discover new prevention strategies, improve early detection and diagnosis, and cultivate effective treatments. The majority of the funding will go to the NIH to support efforts across all of its institutes and other entities.  In addition to the $680 million for NIH, the FDA would receive $75 million  to develop the regulatory pathways for these new technologies, ensure quality systems for trials, and facilitate the sharing of important data across government, academia, and industry.

The FY17 budget proposal includes $877 million, an increase of $43 million (5.2 percent increase), across multiple agencies, to continue expanding the nation’s ability to fight antibiotic resistance, aligning with the administration’s National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. 

HHS would receive $915 million in total or CDC and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) activities, which is $2 million above FY16. The funding is intended to support life-saving preparedness and response activities aimed at addressing chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, as well as other disasters, outbreaks, and epidemics.


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

In FY17, NIH would receive $33.1 billion, an increase of $825 million (0.02 increase). In FY17, NIH will focus on the following priority themes:

  • Foundation for Discoveries: Basic Research;
  • The Promise of Precision Medicine;
  • Applying Big Data and Technology to Improve Health; and,
  • Stewardship to Inspire Public Trust.

Cutting across those themes, the budget request for NIH includes $680 million in FY17 for the National Cancer Moonshot to make broad advances across a range of exciting opportunities to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. In addition, the budget proposal includes $195 million for NIH’s contribution to the multiagency BRAIN Initiative, an increase of $45 million (30 percent) for FY17.  The budget proposal also calls for $100 million for the multiagency Precision Medicine Initiative to support several related activities: informatics; building a biorepository; enrolling and consenting participants; staffing; genome analysis; and, core phenotyping.  To support research in the area of Alzheimer’s disease, NIH will contribute $68 million over the five years to the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) program to evaluate biomarkers and validate biological targets related to the disease.

This funding would support a total of 36,440 research project grants, including 9,946 new and competing awards (7.5 percent decrease) with 1,886 new SBIR/STTR awards (9.7 percent increase). Approximately 11 percent of the budget would support intramural programs consisting of basic and clinical research activities with the majority of NIH’s available funding used to support the extramural research community including universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research facilities. The total request for the 24 institutes of NIH and the Office of the Director breaks down as follows:



FY17 Request
($ millions)

Percent Change
(From FY16 Enacted)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)



National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)



National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHILBI)


National Institute of General Medicine Studies (NIGMS)


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)


National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


Office of the Director (NIH)



National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


National Institute of Aging (NIA)


National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)


National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences (NIEHS) (see note)


National Eye Institute (NEI)


National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)


National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)


National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)


National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)


National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)


National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)


National Library of Medicine (NLM)


National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)


National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)


National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


John E. Fogerty International Center (FIC)



Note: NIEHS’ total request of $742 million includes appropriations allocated to HHS, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Labor.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The FY17 total program level proposal for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is $470 million, an increase of $41 million (9.6 percent) from FY16 enacted. Under the proposed budget AHRQ would provide 363.7 million (8.9 percent increase  to support extramural research support in the form of grants, cooperative agreements and research contracts to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. The primary research areas of funding for AHRQ include:

  • $106 million (13.5 percent increase) for Patient-Centered Health Research;
  • $113.5 million (26.9 percent increase) for Health Services Research, Data and Dissemination
  • $76 million (2.3 percent increase) for General Patient Safety Research;
  • $22.9 million (6.4 percent increase) for Health Information Technology Research; and,
  • $11.6 million (no change) for Prevention/Care Management Research.

Specific areas of interest for proposed funding includes $34 million (8.7 percent decrease) to support research related to Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs); $7.0 million (32.7 percent increase) for AHRQ’s Patient Safety Organization (PSO) program; and, $35 million (10.3 percent increase) to support research related to Patient Safety Risks and Harms.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The FY17 budget request of $7 billion (2.3 percent decrease) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes several initiatives to support basic and applied research in areas of interest to the CDC including:

  • $788.7 million for Domestic HIV/AIDs Prevention and Research;
  • $10 million for gun violence prevention research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, focusing on those questions with the greatest potential public health impact;
  • $286 million (15.8 percent decrease for Occupation Safety and Health including $90.5 million (21.6 percent decrease) for the National Occupation Research Agenda and $61.3 million (no change) for mining research focused on occupational safety and health; and,
  • $9 million (no change) for Injury Control Research Centers.


fy17budget, federal budget