House Republicans Set Sights on Cutting Funds in Health Care Programs
On Friday, House Republicans unveiled an updated continuing resolution measure (HR 1) that would cut funds for a range of health care programs, including some provisions in the federal health reform law, Politico reports.
Health Reform-Related Cuts
The bill specifically targets a number of programs under the overhaul, including eliminating funding for the director of the White House Office of Health Reform and for enforcement of the 1099 tax-reporting provision.
According to Politico, the proposals are intended to be a "slap against" the overhaul, but OHR already has been "winding down" its operations -- in preparation for its likely merger into the National Economic Council or the Domestic Policy Council -- and there is bipartisan support for eliminating the 1099 tax-reporting provision.
The bill also would reduce funds for preventive services under the new Prevention and Public Health Fund, the National Health Service Corps and community health centers, returning funding to 2008 levels and eliminating any increases provided under the overhaul.
Despite eradicating funding for OHR and the 1099 tax-reporting enforcement, the legislation does not defund the reform law itself. Republicans are expected to introduce several broader overhaul defunding measures this week when floor debate begins on the budget.
Other Health-Related Cuts
Other health-related budget cuts include:
- $1.3 billion from community health centers;
- $1 billion from NIH;
- $850 million from CDC;
- $360 million from CMS;
- $174 million from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant;
- $65 million from the Administration on Aging (Nather, Politico, 2/11);
- Possible cuts to loan forgiveness programs for physicians who work in underserved areas;
- Medicare primary care bonus payments; and
- Incentives for adopting electronic health records (Trapp, American Medical News, 2/14).
The bill would completely cancel funding for:
- Title X family planning programs; and
- A research, demonstration and evaluation program at CMS (Politico, 2/11).
Although a number of Democrats publicly opposed the proposed health cuts, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) expects to see some Democrats support the bill, Politico reports.
Based on discussions with other party members, Hoyer said some Democrats are supportive of some of the health care cuts, but insist that they be paired with reductions in other areas, such as defense and entitlement spending (Cummings, Politico, 2/13).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.