Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) reiterated his goal to replace the Administration's health care law with commonsense reforms that actually improve access to care, after learning of how a portion of the law's funds have been used.
"This is absolutely ridiculous," said Dr. Benishek. "At the beginning of my term, I promised that I would read the text of each bill that comes before the House for a vote. The existence of this fund is proof that the previous Congress did not share my philosophy. I think we can all agree that taxpayer dollars dedicated for improvements to health care should not be used to spay or neuter our pets."
The health care law provided the Secretary of Health and Human Services with a fund to spend on any program within the Public Health Service Act. Any funding issued from this fund is not required to be approved by Congress. The projects identified as part of the "slush fund" were identified as part of the "Communities Putting Prevention to Work" program, as explained in a press release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 1
The "slush fund" has gone towards signage for recreational destinations in North Carolina, pet spaying and neutering in Tennessee, urban gardening in Massachusetts, a soda tax initiative in New York, and cigarette taxes in South Carolina and Pennsylvania, among others.
"I've said since the beginning that this law is bad for Northern Michigan. It adds more red tape and puts tax hikes on businesses and families. Clearly these initiatives are not teaching "prevention,' nor are they improving local access to health care," added Dr. Benishek, a doctor for nearly 30 years.