House Votes To Slash Health Law’s Public Health Fund
Almost entirely along party-lines, the House voted to repeal a provision of the health law that establishes a trust fund to support prevention and public health activities. Opponents of the trust fund said it was a "slush fund" for the HHS secretary, but the White House responded by threatening a veto.
The Associated Press: House Votes To Kill Preventive Health Fund
House Republicans continued their multipronged attack on the health care law enacted last year with a vote Wednesday to eliminate a section in the law providing $15 billion over the next decade on such preventive health care issues as fighting obesity, reducing smoking and promoting better nutrition. Republicans described the Prevention and Public Health Fund as a "slush fund" for the secretary of health and human services that is not subject to congressional approval or oversight. The vote, almost entirely along party lines, was 236-183 (4/13).
The Hill: House Votes To Kill Another Piece Of Obama Health Care Reform Law
The House on Wednesday voted to terminate another piece of last year's health care law - the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is currently scheduled to receive nearly $18 billion over the next few years. The bill, H.R. 1217, passed in a 236-183 vote. Only four Democrats supported it, as most argued that killing the program would reduce access to preventive health care, lead to higher health care costs later on and even destroy jobs in the health care industry. Republicans dismissed all of these arguments and repeatedly called the program a "slush fund" that the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) can use without any input from Congress. Republicans said the program is so nonspecific in the law that it allows HHS to use it for dubious purposes, such as signs indicating exercise spots. ... Republicans also argued the program could be used to fund elective abortions (Kasperowicz, 4/13).
Modern Healthcare: House Votes To Repeal Public-Health Fund
Advancing toward their goal of breaking apart the health care reform law, House Republicans scored another victory Wednesday when the lower chamber voted to repeal the act's prevention and public-health fund. In a 236-183 vote, the House repealed the fund that grants full authority to the HHS secretary to administer $17.75 billion in funding from fiscal 2012 to 2021. Earlier Tuesday on the House floor, House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) - who introduced the bill - said, "Every member who supports this fund should know nobody knows where this money will be spent" (Zigmond, 4/13).
National Journal: White House Threatens Veto Of Public Health Measure Repeal
"... If the President is presented with legislation that would eliminate funding or repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it," [according to an Office of Management and Budget statement]. Republicans say the provision, which lays out $15 billion in spending over 10 years, amounts to a "taxpayer-funded social-engineering effort" (Fox, McCarthy, 4/13).
And in other news related to the health law:
USA Today: Health Care Law Gets Day In Court
Legal challenges to the sweeping federal health care overhaul backed by the Obama administration are heading toward the Supreme Court, where the justices who would decide the law's fate could have as much at stake as the parties battling over it. The first signal from the justices may come as soon as this month, when they decide whether to put the health care dispute on a fast track (Biskupic, 4/14).
The Associated Press: Dems Form Campaign To Defend Health Care Overhaul
Democrats looking to defend President Barack Obama's massive health care overhaul are announcing an effort to highlight what they say are the benefits of the law and to lobby Congress to defend it (4/14).