The big number out of President Obama’s budget released today in $634 billion over the next ten years. This is detailed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ and covered in newspapers and blogs today.
Even with the effort to cut the deficit in half, President Obama has prioritized health reform enough to put this money aside to help finance health reform.
I say “help” because the Obama Administration is clear that this isn’t enough, to provide affordable health coverage to all Americans.
One of the obstacles for health reform in California in 2007-08 was that because of our strained budget and balanced budget requirements, California’s reform needed to be entirely self-financing. That put a lot of pressure to find funding sources, and to limit the help that consumers could get with affordability.
Having some money to start with helps. It’s not everything, but it helps.