The Helping Sick Americans Now Act (H.R. 1549)
Apr 24, 2013
Legislation Targets Obamacare Implementation Slush Fund, Prioritizes Funding for Vulnerable Americans, and Cuts the Deficit
- H.R. 1549, the Helping Sick Americans Now Act, addresses Obamacare’s broken promise to help those with pre-existing conditions by redirecting the law’s slush fund money, which has gone toward implementation of Obamacare’s core structure, to help sick patients.
- On February 15, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they were closing enrollment in the law’s federal and state high-risk pool program (known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP) due to funding constraints. H.R. 1549 would require HHS to transfer approximately $4 billion in FY 2013-2016 funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to PCIP. This would allow CMS to enroll sick Americans who have been denied coverage because of the Administration’s decision.
- The bill would also eliminate four years of funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund – one of Obamacare’s worst programs which is rife with waste and abuse. For example, the "Prevention" fund has financed:
- The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program. This program has used stimulus and Obamacare dollars on projects such as pet neutering campaigns, bike/park signs, and gardening. This program has also funded lobbying campaigns to enact fast food construction moratoriums and soda taxes (included polling to test messages for higher soda taxes).
- CDC’s Community Transformation Grant Program – funding similar lobbying efforts to increase soda, sugar, and tobacco taxes, as well as enact fast food density laws.
- The legislation also would help defund implementation of Obamacare. The Administration has tapped $54 million from the Prevention Fund to pay individuals and community groups to sign people up for Obamacare exchanges. Just last week, the Administration announced that is about to tap $304 million for enrollment and advertising campaigns for Obamacare. The Prevention Fund is one of the last sources the Administration has to use for 2014 implementation of its $1 trillion exchange program.
- Rather than spend money on lobbying campaigns for higher taxes and Obamacare media campaigns, H.R. 1549 redirects funding toward sick Americans with pre-existing conditions.
- Republicans have traditionally supported high-risk pools to help sick Americans. House Republicans proposed $25 billion in funding for these programs in their alternative to Obamacare.
- CONSERVATIVES SUPPORT: "[D]efunding, dismantling, cannibalizing—these are all achievable, with smart tactics," said Dean Clancy, vice president for health care policy at FreedomWorks…."We absolutely support using Obamacare slush fund money to fully fund pre-ex pools, even the law’s somewhat flawed pools."
- H.R. 1549 would eliminate federal red tape that requires individuals to go without coverage for six months in order to gain eligibility for the program. After amendment, H.R. 1549 will eliminate the slush fund permanently, reduce the deficit by $8 billion and include a path towards innovative state-based solutions in 2014 as an escape valve from the impending train wreck that is Obamacare.