Today, Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) reintroduced legislation to eliminate a health slush fund created by the President's health care law. The bill defunds the Prevention and Public Health Fund, saving more than $11 billion. Identical legislation, H.R. 1217, passed the House in the previous Congress.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services is allowed to use the fund for any "public health" program, an overly broad category that allows her to use these funds on virtually any health program. Because the funds are solely at the discretion of the secretary, there is no guarantee that any particular prevention program will receive funding from year to year.
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"The federal government funds numerous programs to help prevent deadly diseases, reduce obesity and encourage Americans to live healthy lifestyles. Despite these efforts, the new health law created a multi-billion dollar fund that has no Congressional oversight.
"Now is no time to give cabinet secretaries slush funds to pay for duplicative programs. My legislation passed the House last year and I hope that we can again consider restoring the authority to spend this money to Congress. Bureaucrats shouldn't be allowed to dole out taxpayer money at will."