Rules Over Policy: The Impact of the Federal Budget Process on the Modernization of American Public Health

Award Year:
Timothy Westmoreland
Politics and Policymaking
Individuals working to improve public health and health care are often stymied by the federal budget process. This project will illuminate the arcane nature of federal budgeting, its unintended impact on formulation of health policy, and the absence of health-based measures to balance the process. Mr. Westmoreland will study the origin and development of the formal budget process, assessing the ostensible neutrality of budgeting principles and how they actually drive health policymaking. He will focus on mandatory spending programs (usually reserved for health insurance) and how they are treated differently from discretionary spending programs (typically used for public health activities, clinic- and population-based services) and examine financing disparities. The results will describe how health-related proposals are scrutinized and recommend ways that health-oriented measures might be used to advance federal policymaking.