More than $1 Billion in Stocking Stuffers for the Affordable Care Act

The Senate Republican Policy Committee reports that the omnibus appropriations measure includes more than $1 billion in funding to implement the Affordable Care Act.

An increase of more than $80.7 million in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Departmental Management account, to enforce the new insurance mandates and regulations created in the law.  This $80 million “plus-up” is also significantly higher than the $44.9 million increase proposed in Democrats’ year-long CR.  (Provision found on page 1015 of the legislation.)

An increase of over $175.9 million in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Program Management account, to implement the massive Medicaid expansion and cuts to Medicare Advantage.  (Provision found on pages 1000-1001 of the legislation.)

Spending of $750 million from the Prevention and Public Health “slush fund” created in the law.  Among the programs receiving “slush fund” dollars are the new community transformation grant programs, which “could provide billions of dollars for walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms, and even farmers’ markets,” provisions that have caused controversy.  (Provisions found on pages 983, 988-89, 998, and 999 of the legislation.)

 Funding of $3 million for the National Health Care Workforce Commission created in the law, just one of the 159 boards, bureaucracies, and programs created by the majority’s government takeover of health care.  (Provision found on page 1077 of the legislation.)

Alarm bells appear to be going off in droves at these attempts to pad the bill with all sorts of goodies, and this is undoubtedly an attempt to stymie the “defund” strategy that House Republicans are considering. Of course, even if these appropriations remain in the bill, Republicans can always try and strip them out later — part of the fiscal chess game that will play out next year.

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