House votes to repeal public health fund

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 25, 2011

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The House on April 13 voted 236-183 to repeal the health system reform law's Prevention and Public Health Fund, with four Democrats supporting the repeal. The fund was created by the reform law to support a variety of health efforts, including local tobacco cessation programs, information technology upgrades for public health departments and research to monitor the impact of health reform.

Republicans object to the fund because it allows the Health and Human Services secretary to provide grants to a variety of projects without the need to seek annual appropriations from Congress.

"Prevention does work, and I support efforts to reduce obesity, diabetes and other preventable health conditions," Rep. Joe Pitts (R, Pa.), the bill's sponsor, said April 13. "The question before us today was whether Congress should determine how we spend public funds." Pitts chairs the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee.

HHS has awarded $1.25 billion from the fund so far. If enacted by September, the bill would repeal $16 billion in funding by 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office. However, the Democratic-controlled Senate is not expected to act on the measure, and Obama promised on April 13 to veto any legislation that repeals the fund.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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