Defunding Strategy Takes Aim At Health Law’s Mandatory Spending Provisions
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday to begin the process of marking up legislation to remove certain parts of health law funding.
The Hill: Republicans Look To Alter Reform Law's Mandatory Spending
Taking a new approach for halting health care reform funds, House Republicans on Wednesday slammed the law for including at least $105 billion in mandatory spending over the next few years. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, rebuffed so far in their efforts to repeal and defund the law, targeted five provisions of the sweeping reform law they want to subject to the annual appropriation process. Tea Party Caucus leader Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and other conservatives this week have seized on the long-term mandatory spending included in the reform law. They say that the spending was hidden in the law and was just recently uncovered, though the Congressional Research Service disclosed $105 billion in mandatory spending in an October report (Millman, 3/9).
National Journal: Must-Pass Bills Could Be Used To Defund Health Care Law
House Republicans laid the foundation to repeal mandatory spending in the health care law on Wednesday, holding a hearing that could be the first stop in attaching defunding language to vital bills. The language could get added to legislation to raise the debt limit or fund the government through 2011, said Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. "It's very possible, as we reach certain deadlines, that we can use this bill as leverage to get these on must-pass bills," Pitts said. The hearing examined five areas of the health law where Republicans want to strip funding, including funds to create state insurance exchanges and a $20 billion public health and prevention fund. Following the hearing, Pitts said the committee would introduce and mark up legislation to remove certain mandatory funds toward the end of the month. Republicans couched the hearing as part of their effort to reduce the deficit (McCarthy, 3/9).
Modern Healthcare: House Subcommittee To Take Aim At Reform-Law Spending Setup
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will introduce legislation at the end of the month that would change mandatory spending to discretionary spending in certain programs of the health care reform law - or eliminate them altogether. In a recent memo, the Energy and Commerce Committee - one of four House committees tasked with making changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - said the law was unusual because it provided mandatory spending for certain programs that ordinarily would be considered discretionary in nature. Discretionary spending is handled through the normal appropriations process in Congress and forces lawmakers to assess the value of such spending, while mandatory spending bypasses that process (Zigmond, 3/9).
CQ HealthBeat: House GOP Targets Prevention Fund In Vow To Kill Health Care Law's Mandatory Spending
Republicans Wednesday singled out a prevention initiative that's a favorite of Democrats and public health advocates in blasting the health care overhaul's mandatory spending, which they say amounts to a "slush fund" that the Obama administration can use at will without congressional oversight. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee, said after a hearing Wednesday that he expects to introduce and mark up legislation by the end of the month to convert mandatory overhaul funding into discretionary appropriations for the prevention program, known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and four others. He also said there may be additional mandatory funding that Republicans will attempt to cut, "but we are starting with the five" (Norman, 3/9).
NPR: Was $105 Billion Really 'Hidden' In The Health Law?
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) says she was shocked shocked at what she only recently found out about last year's health law. Really? Ridiculous, say Democrats. For one thing, the report to which Bachmann referred was an update of a report originally issued last October (Rovner, 3/9).
Minnesota Public Radio: PoliGraph: Bachmann Wrong On Health Law Claim
Spending was clearly outlined in the legislation, and lawmakers had about three months to read the text before voting on it. Furthermore, many of these provisions, such as a temporary program for those who have pre-existing conditions, which will get $5 billion, and a plan to create health insurance co-ops, which will get $6 billion, got a lot of media attention throughout the health care debate. Bachmann's separate claim that the $105 billion in spending is a "levy on American taxpayers" is false. By cloaking the numbers in claims that the Obama administration is hiding the money, her claim goes beyond misleading to false (Richert, 3/9).