The White House officially released the President’s budget proposal yesterday for fiscal year 2016. In large part, the budget articulates policies and priorities consistent with the overarching message from President Obama’s State of the Union address, which is to pursue “a strategy to strengthen our middle class and help America's hard-working families get ahead in a time of relentless economic and technological change.”

The fact sheet issued yesterday can be viewed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/02/fact-sheet-middle-class-economics-president-s-fiscal-year-2016-budget.

While the President’s budget represents a framework for the Administration’s priorities, it is important to recognize that it does not hold any weight of law. In broader terms, this budget lays out a wish list of priorities that the White House wants Congress to include in their budgets that are currently in development. The House and Senate budgets are expected to be released mid-March, and given the composition of Congress, it is doubtful that many of the President’s policies will gain traction on Capitol Hill.

Consistent with prior years’ budget proposals, the 2016 plan seeks to pay for some of the unrelated priorities through cuts to healthcare: “The Budget includes $400 billion in health savings that build on the Affordable Care Act to help maintain slower cost growth while improving health care quality – complementing the Administration’s other efforts on delivery system reform.”

We expect that more detail as to where the White House will generate the $400 billion in savings from healthcare will be available soon and we will provide updates as they are available.

Rather than pursue reimbursement cuts to fund unrelated legislative proposals, as the President’s budget appears to do, Kindred and RehabCare support progressive patient-centered policy development that focuses on patient need and integrated care rather than artificial caps on services.

The release of the President’s budget provides us with the opportunity to bring our message and approach to integrated post-acute care to Congress. We will continue to educate elected leaders and their staff as to the value and importance of quality post-acute medical and rehabilitative care and work with them to advance policies that advance systematic reforms while preserving quality and patient access to care.

By RehabCare