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Public Health Advocates Rally Again to Protect Prevention Fund

November 13, 2013
by Melissa Attais
Congressional Quarterly

This is one in a series of reports on cuts in entitlements and other mandatory programs that budget negotiators might consider as potential common ground.

Public health advocates are pushing Congress to preserve money for a prevention fund created in the health care law as the budget negotiations move forward.

Lawmakers and the Obama administration have dipped into the fund in the past, creating real concern among its defenders that the money for prevention efforts like health screenings and immunization programs could once again be targeted. Plus, Republicans consider the account to be a “slush fund” and have endorsed legislation to chip away at it further, including legislation to do away with the fund completely.

But at least one advocate thinks the administration may be more protective of the fund now that it has tapped some of the money to help with outreach and enrollment under the 2010 overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).

“Ironically, I think the fact that the fund has been used to strengthen the Affordable Care Act will strengthen the administration’s desire to hold onto the fund,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health.