House Passes Legislation To Remove Prevention and Public Health Fund
On Wednesday, the House voted 236-183 to pass a bill (HR 1217) that would eliminate a provision in the federal health reform law that provides $15 billion over 10 years for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supplies grants for preventive care and public health issues, the AP/Washington Post reports.
The legislation passed almost entirely along party lines (AP/Washington Post, 4/13).
Opposition to Fund
Republicans said the program was so nonspecific that it permits HHS to use the funding for questionable purposes.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said the overhaul allows HHS to use the funds for any health initiative under the Public Health Services Act, which could include Title X programs. "This slush fund is yet another Democratic trick to use taxpayer money to subsidize elective abortions," Foxx said (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 4/13).
Democrats criticized the legislation, noting that the fund had received bipartisan support during negotiations over the reform law. They added that investing in preventive care could help lower health care costs (Symes, CQ Today, 4/13).
Democrats say the funding is key to promoting state- and community-based wellness programs, supporting preventive research, promoting smoking cessation, and reducing obesity, heart disease, cancer and other health issues (Sonmez, "2chambers," Washington Post, 4/11).
Obama Administration Threatens To Veto Bill
In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget said the Obama administration "will strongly oppose legislation that attempts to erode the important provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans."
The statement said that if the bill reaches President Obama's desk, "his senior advisers would recommend that he veto it" (Fox/McCarthy, National Journal, 4/13).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.