Not So Super
November 13, 2011
by Harold Pollack
The New Republic
It’s disappointing but unsurprising to read that Super-committee Democrats may cut the Affordable Care Act’s ten-year $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund. The Obama administration had already signaled a willingness to scale back the initiative, having previously proposed of a 25 percent cut as part of one of its deficit reduction deals. Super-committee Democrats have now called for cuts roughly twice as big, or $8 billion.
The Fund is less than two percent of new spending initiated under health reform. The idea is popular with voters. Yet the Fund has proved politically vulnerable. Sarah Kliff reported last year that Republicans regarded the Fund was one of the "top three" items in ACA to cut. In that same story, a Senate aide quipped that the Fund was a "slush fund for jungle gyms." Previously, Republicans had sought (unsuccessfully) to eliminate this fund altogether, most memorably when they proposed using the savings to pay for elimination of more stringent tax collections from small business.
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