A Senate appropriations subcommittee today approved legislation that would provide $161.9 billion in base discretionary funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies in fiscal year 2017, $270 million less than this year. HHS programs would receive $76.9 billion, $1.4 billion more than in FY 2016, according to a committee summary. This includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health; $126 million increase for programs to combat opioid abuse; $80 million increase for mental health programs; $5 million increase for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education; $5 million increase for the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals; and $3 million increase for rural health programs. The legislation also includes $1.96 billion to prevent waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments in the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs; eliminates funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board; and would prevent using funds for Risk Corridor payments. The full committee is expected to mark up the legislation Thursday.