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House Approves Bill to Eliminate Prevention Fund

April 15, 2011—The House April 13 approved, 236-183, legislation (H.R. 1217) to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152). Four Democrats —Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), and Collin Peterson (Minn.) —joined all voting Republicans in supporting the measure, after party-line votes in the Energy and Commerce subcommittee and full committee markups [see Washington Highlights, April 8].

Several Democrats defended the mandatory appropriation provided in the ACA to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to supplement annual discretionary spending for public health activities. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) was among the representatives that cited the FY 2010 investment in the Primary Care Residency Expansion program [see Washington Highlights, June 18, 2010] as one example of the important initiatives supported by the fund. Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the bill’s lead sponsor, responded that as the fund is structured, “there is no guarantee that the current secretary or any future secretary will fund programs that members of Congress consider worthy.”

The House adopted by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to require the Department of Health and Human Services to post on its website the amount of unobligated funds rescinded from the fund. During the House Rules Committee’s consideration of the measure, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) offered an AAMC-supported amendment intended to preserve any funding allocated through the PPHF for Title VII and VIII health professions programs, noting, “Support for programs such as Title VII health professions training is an investment in the long-term health of the primary care provider pipeline which produces more physicians to provide quality care.” The Schwartz amendment was ruled out of order.

The White House issued an April 13 Statement of Administration Policy indicating that if H.R. 1217 reached the president’s desk, “his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.”


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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