During the debate on the House floor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, shaking with misplaced anger, had this to say about the GOP proposal:
“You may have already forgotten that several months ago you all [forgetful Democrats] voted to cut $4 billion out of this slush fund when we passed the payroll tax credit bill.”"Slush fund" = the HHS Prevention and Public Health Fund.
They really will say anything.
First, Boehner's assertion that Democrats "voted to cut $4 billion out of this slush fund when we passed the payroll tax credit bill" is massively misleading. Recall that the payroll tax holiday blockade was engineered last December by House Tea Party Congressloons. As this battle continued into February an agreement
Though it's hard to untie the Gordian knot of the payroll tax holiday negotiations, among the reasons for GOP intransigence was the so-called "doc fix." Briefly, a 27% cut in Medicare payments to doctors was scheduled to occur on March 1, 2012. 27%! This would have decimated the Medicare doctor pool. So, among other things, the GOP went after cuts in - what else? - "Obamacare" to pay for the doc fix. Very interested, then, in paying for things . . .
Yet, the agreement was still in jeopardy in mid-February. What was among the final disagreements?
One of the issues holding up the agreement late Wednesday was Republicans' insistence on a provision allowing Medicare to pay for services at newly built doctor-owned hospitals. Under the nation's new healthcare law, such hospitals would no longer be reimbursed because their services were deemed too costly. LA TimesNot precisely a principled objection, simply more of the same GOP self-dealing to protect laissez faire for-profit hospitals. Ironically, it raided Medicare, the program the GOP insists must reduce its spending.
One of the cuts to "Obamacare" insisted upon by the GOP in order for the payroll tax/doc fix legislation to move forward was to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Four billion dollars from a 15 billion dollar fund. And that's much of the background to Boehner's disinformation quoted at the outset.
Second, Boehner continues the GOP war cry, "slush fund," that has dogged the PPHF to this day. To make a long story short, below are the PPHF's funding activities; below is the GOP's idea of a "slush fund."
From HHS's website:
The following table reflects the planned use of Prevention and Public Health Fund resources in fiscal year 2012. The table includes the name of the agency receiving funds, the activity to be supported, and the program or activity funding level. The effective transfer date of funds will be posted once the process of transferring of funds to the various agencies is completed.
Department of Health & Human Services
FY 2012 Prevention and Public Health Fund
Is that a self-respecting slush fund? A slush fund is like sending billions of dollars, much of it in cash, to Iraq and Afghanistan often with no auditing or accountability. Isn't it?