Advocacy Toolkit

Agencies and Terms

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): AHRQ conducts and sponsors health services research and primary care research to inform decision-making, improve clinical care, and improve the organization and financing of health care. It works with other Federal agencies, academic institutions, medical societies, managed care organizations, and health care payers. 

Appropriations Bill: A bill that provides the legal authority needed to spend U.S. Treasury funds. There are 13 annual appropriations bills, which together fund the entire federal government. An appropriation bill grants the actual money approved by authorization bills, but not necessarily the full amount permissible under the authorization.

Authorizations Act: A law that establishes or continues one or more Federal agencies or programs, establishes the terms and conditions under which they operate, authorizes the enactment of appropriations, and specifies how appropriated funds are to be used. Authorization acts sometimes provide permanent appropriations. Authorizations may be annual, multi-year, or permanent. Expiring programs require re-authorization. (eg: Title VII)

Budget Resolution: Legislation, adopted by both Houses of Congress, that sets a Congressional budget plan for the coming fiscal year and several subsequent years. The plan consists of spending and revenue targets with which subsequent appropriation acts and authorization acts that affect revenues and direct spending are expected to comply. Although the resolution is not law, the targets established in the budget resolution can be enforced in each House of Congress through procedural mechanisms set out in law and the rules of each House.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS): CMS, formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration, is responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, and the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.

CBO: The Congressional Budget Office. They conduct non-partisan economic analysis and research. CBO also evaluates proposed bills and amendments, assessing their potential cost.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): HRSA has the responsibility for ensuring access to health care through a range of programs for the uninsured, those who live in medically underserved areas, or those with special health care needs. It operates these programs in partnership with states, local communities, and universities.

Reconciliation: The 1974 budget act provides for a "reconciliation" procedure for bringing existing tax and spending laws into conformity with ceilings enacted in the congressional budget resolutions. Under the procedure, Congress instructs designated legislative committees to approve measures adjusting revenues and expenditures by a certain amount. The committees have a deadline by which they must report the legislation, but they have the discretion of deciding what changes are to be made. The recommendations of the various committees are consolidated without change by the budget committees into an omnibus reconciliation bill, which the must be considered and approved by both houses of Congress. The orders to congressional committees to report recommendations for reconciliation bills are called reconciliation instructions, and they are contained in the budget resolution.

Title VII: Title VII of the Public Health Service Act helps support education funding for the health professions, particularly in primary care. Funding from Title VII goes straight to family medicine programs - the bulk of the funding is for departments, predoctoral education, and faculty development. We are primarily concerned with section 747 of Title VII, the Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry Cluster.

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