House Spending Bill Kills Some Obamacare Funding

Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 08:42 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The spending bill coming out of the House this week could slash funds from a number of programs within Obamacare, reflecting vows by Republicans to limit public spending on the controversial healthcare law.

The $1 trillion omnibus spending bill proposes to reduce the Prevention and Public Health (PPH) fund by $1 billion. The program, which called for $15 billion in funding, has been dubbed by Republicans as a "slush fund" because spending has not been earmarked for any particular initiatives, The Hill reports.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board, Obamacare's Medicare cost-cutting board, will also see its funding reduced by $10 million.

"The bill halts any new funding for Obamacare — and goes even further by slicing into existing Obamacare funding — to prevent the unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars on this flawed law," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said in a statement released by his office Monday.

The Kentucky Republican said cuts to the PPH fund would "prevent the Secretary of Health and Human Services from raiding these funds for Obamacare exchanges."

Democrats have in the past argued that cuts to the fund would reduce access to preventative healthcare and ultimately lead to higher costs as well as job losses in the healthcare industry.
Rogers said the bill would also restrict funds appropriated for lobbying, which the GOP believes would be used help prop up the faltering healthcare law, according to The Hill.

"Continuing restrictions on using federal grant money to lobby . . . will stop HHS from directing taxpayer money to lobbying efforts for Obamacare," Rogers added.

Despite the cuts, some Republicans continue to be dissatisfied, arguing the bill doesn't go far enough. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, for one, has already said he will oppose any bill that doesn't defund Obamacare in its entirety, a position which led to the partisan stalemate and government shutdown in October.

Leaders from both parties announced Monday that they had reached a budget deal setting spending limits, averting another shutdown. The bill is expected to be voted on in the House Wednesday and in the Senate by the end of the week.

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