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Harkin: Omnibus Allocates, Does Not Eliminate, Funding for Prevention and Wellness

January 16, 2014

Harkin: Omnibus Allocates, Does Not Eliminate, Funding for Prevention and Wellness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate’s LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee and the HELP Committee, said the omnibus agreement (H.R.3547) allocates funding for the Prevention Fund. 

Following is an excerpt of his floor speech, as prepared for delivery.

“The bill allocates nearly $1 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which I created in the Affordable Care Act.  There has been some confusion about this Fund, so let me correct the record.

“In past years, resources from the Fund have been diverted to other healthcare purposes.  This year, the omnibus allocates 100 percent of the resources from the Fund to prevention and wellness activities.  It is being reported that the omnibus cuts or eliminates the Fund.  Anyone who has read this bill knows that this is absolutely untrue.  Section 219 of Division H of this bill allocates the Fund. 

“It’s all there in black and white.  Far from eliminating the Fund, the bill identifies what the Fund will be used for this year, including $160 million for immunization programs; $104 million for cancer screenings; and $105 million for smoking cessation programs. On October 1st, another appropriation of $1 billion will be deposited in the Fund from the ACA, and I intend to allocate the Fund just as we did in this omnibus.

“If there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that the Fund is alive and well, and fulfilling the purpose for which it was originally intended, consider this:  the American Public Health Association has praised the omnibus specifically for allocating the Prevention Fund, saying, ‘We are also pleased that the bill fully allocates available funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for the first time.’

“As the author of the Fund, I consider the allocation of these resources to prevention and wellness as a major achievement in this bill.