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Prevention Fund Cut Proposal Criticized by Public Health Groups

December 12, 2011
by Nellie Bristol
Congressional Quarterly

The House Republican proposal to cut $8 billion over a decade from the health law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund is shortsighted and ultimately would cost the country more in future health care dollars, public health and prevention experts said Monday.

Under a measure introduced by House Republicans Dec. 9 (HR 3630), the prevention fund would be capped at $640 million per year beginning in fiscal 2013. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the cut would save $8 billion over 10 years (See related story, CQ HealthBeat, Dec. 9, 2011). Mandatory funding allotted to the program by the health overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) authorized $15 billion for the first 10 years, starting with $500 million and building up to $2 billion per year as of fiscal 2015.

The proposed reductions to the fund are being used to help offset the cost of the bill’s core provisions: an extension of the payroll tax cut that expires at the end of December, and a 1 percent increase in physician payments for the next two years under Medicare.