House Appropriations Bill Would Block Funds for Health Reform Law
On Tuesday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) -- chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies -- released the long-delayed fiscal year 2013 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which provides $150 billion in total discretionary spending, The Hill's "On the Money" reports.
The bill, the last of 12 annual appropriations bills to be released by the House, would cut $6.3 billion from FY 2012 funding levels and is $8.8 billion less than President Obama's FY 2013 budget proposal (Wasson, "On the Money," The Hill, 7/17).
Details of Proposal
According to Politico, the spending proposal would block the use of federal funding to "implement, administer, enforce or further" the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
More specifically, it would eliminate:
- $3 billion for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program;
- $1.6 billion for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation at CMS;
- $1 billion for the Prevention and Public Health Fund;
- $300 million for community health centers; and
- $150 million for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.
The bill also would defund the Independent Payment Advisory Board and the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at HHS established under the federal health reform law.
Over five years, the measure would reduce ACA spending by $123 billion, according to leaders of the full House Appropriations Committee. Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said, "This legislation reflects our strong commitment to reduce over-regulation and unnecessary, ineffective spending that feeds the nation's deficits and hampers economic growth" (Politico, 7/17).
Meanwhile, the bill would allocate $68.3 billion in total discretionary spending for HHS, $1.3 billion less than the funding level in FY 2012. Of that amount:
- $30.6 billion would be given to NIH, which is equivalent to the current funding level (Ethridge, CQ Today, 7/17);
- $16.4 billion would be directed to the Administration for Children and Families (Politico, 7/17);
- $5.75 billion would be provided to CDC, which is small increase from the current funding level (CQ Today, 7/17);
- $3.5 billion would be sent to CMS, which is $409 million less than the current funding level; and
- $3.1 billion would be directed to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Politico, 7/17).
Subcommittee ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the measure is designed to "target the most vulnerable in our society for the deepest cuts," adding that it would make "[c]uts to programs that improve our schools and combat child abuse, substance abuse, elder abuse, mental health issues, teen pregnancy and domestic violence are all devastating." She also criticized Rehberg for not working with her to develop the proposal ("On the Money," The Hill, 7/17).
Prospects for Proposal
Rehburg's proposal is scheduled for markup on Wednesday. However, it is not expected to progress to the House floor "because of its difficult cuts to social programs," according to "On the Money."
Instead, elements of the measure likely will be used during House-Senate negotiations on spending in the fall ("On the Money," The Hill, 7/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.