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Harte

The usual cynicism, with a side of hypocrisy

12 posts in this topic

A hue and cry rings out across the land that the GOP is again conducting a "war on women."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday slammed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for proposing on Wednesday to keep down the costs of student loan interest rates by pulling money from what he called "one of the slush funds in the president's health care law." He was referring to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which contains billions of dollars aimed at encouraging people to take better care of themselves, thereby saving money down the road.

"He's calling it a slush fund," Pelosi said of Boehner's proposal during a press conference. "Well, it may be a slush fund to him, but it's survival to women. It's survival to women. That just goes to show you what a luxury he thinks it is to have good health. We do not agree."

Pelosi wasn't the only top Democrat to tie the student loan debate to Democratic messaging on Republicans' "war on women" -- a theme likely to stick around all the way through the November elections. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, also hit Republicans for making people choose between funding one issue over the other.

"Republicans want to force a choice between helping students afford college and allowing women access to mammograms," Schumer said during floor remarks Thursday.

Source: Huffington

The fund mentioned above is around 11 or 12 billion dollars. The GOP bill takes half of that to cover the student loan interest bill.

So, are they forcing "... a choice between helping students afford college and allowing women access to mammograms...?"

Funny. Obama didn't think so when he proposed cutting that same fund for his budget last year. Nor did the Dems worry that women would have to forego mammograms a few months ago when they voted to take money from that same fund:

Republicans noted that many Democrats had voted earlier this year to take money from the preventive health fund to help pay to keep doctors' Medicare reimbursements from dropping. Obama's own budget in February proposed cutting $4 billion from the same fund to pay for some of his priorities.

Source: AP story

"We've already taken $4 billion out of this fund. It was used to help pay for the payroll tax credit," Boehner said during a press conference. "Many Democrats voted for it. The president signed it into law. So I think they've made it clear the precedent is there that they don't believe this money is essential to their program. That's why it's being paid for here."

Source: Huffington

The original bill that would cause the student loan interest rate to double this summer was written and passed by the Dems in 2007 when they held both houses of Congress.

This isn't a "war on women." It's not the GOP making students suffer.

It's pure hogwash, invented in a feeble and transparent attempt to garner the youth vote that Obama won on and that, in this election cycle, appears to be abandoning him.

Harte

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The fund mentioned above is around 11 or 12 billion dollars. The GOP bill takes half of that to cover the student loan interest bill.

The GOP bill eliminates the entire Prevention and Public Health Fund.

SEC. 3. REPEALING PREVENTION AND PUBLIC HEALTH FUND.


  • (a) In General- Section 4002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 300u-11) is repealed.

(
B)
Rescission of Unobligated Funds- Of the funds made available by such section 4002, the unobligated balance is rescinded.

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And the student interest loan bill takes about half of that.

So, are they crying because they won't have this slush fund to dip into anymore?

Harte

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Well, yes. Prevention and public health are both critically important and chronically underfunded. I get that the "slush fund" nonsense is supposed to frame the slashing of their funding as some kind of exercise in good governance but the facade is pretty transparent.

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Please inform us of exactly what health care that fund has actually funded.

Also, if the fund is so important, why did the Democrats vote to take part of it for other spending, and why did Obama propose taking more of it for his proposed (and failed) budget?

Also, if the student loan interest rate issue is so important, why did the Democrats build in the doubling of this rate when they passed the the bill in 2007, cutting the rate in half? How was that cut paid for and why isn't it still being paid for in that way?

The fund in question can be spent at the sole discretion of the Secretary. If that's not a slush fund, what would you call it (seriously?)

Harte

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Please inform us of exactly what health care that fund has actually funded.

In the current fiscal year it's funding:

  • Two Administration of Aging programs for older adults (one on chronic disease management, the other on Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Education and Outreach)
  • AHRQ work on preventive services research (i.e. supporting Clinical Preventive Services Research at their Center for Excellence, and supportng the Preventive Services Task force, which is the group that evaluates the existing evidence base for preventive services)
  • A number of communty-oriented CDC programs with local public health authorities (Community Guide / Community Preventive Services Task Force; Prevention Research Centers; Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Activities; Chronic Disease Innovation Grants (Diabetes Prevention Program); Infectious Disease Screening Activities (Viral Hepatitis); CDC fellowships to bolster the local and state public health workforce; the Nat'l Public Health Improvement Initiative (Public Health Infrastructure); an initiative to expand state prevention activities around Healthcare-Associated Infections; a number of Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants )
  • A number of other specific CDC projects around particular issues (immunizations, childhood obesity, tobacco use, etc)
  • HRSA work on workforce development (i.e. Public Health Workforce Development and mental health workforce training/recruitment)
  • SAMHSA initiatives on behavioral/physical health integration, suicide prevention, and data collection
  • Two additional outreach projects, one around prevention in general and the other around tobacco.

That's this year. In the previous fiscal year the work was organized around four priorities: Community Prevention, Clinical Prevention, Public Health Infrastructure and Training, and research and tracking.

One of the more interesting early uses was in 2010, when the administration announced a major investment in primary care workforce development:

Half of this fund – $250 million – will be used to boost the supply of primary care providers in this country by providing new resources for:
  • Creating additional primary care residency slots: $168 million for training more than 500 new primary care physicians by 2015;
  • Supporting physician assistant training in primary care: $32 million for supporting the development of more than 600 new physician assistants, who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physician, and can be trained in a shorter period of time compared to physicians;
  • Increasing the number of nurse practitioners trained: $30 million will train an additional 600 nurse practitioners, including providing incentives for part-time students to become full-time and complete their education sooner. Nurse practitioners provide comprehensive primary care;
  • Establishing new nurse practitioner-led clinics: $15 million for the operation of 10 nurse-managed health clinics which assist in the training of nurse practitioners. These clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners, which provide comprehensive primary health care services to populations living in medically underserved communities.
  • Encouraging States to plan for and address health professional workforce needs: $5 million for States to plan and implement innovative strategies to expand their primary care workforce by 10 to 25 percent over ten years to meet increased demand for primary care services.

Given the size of the fund, it gets stretched very thin, considering prevention and public health are very broad areas.

If it's simply a choice between the interest rates going up to 6.8% and eliminating the Fund, I'd rather see the interest rates go up. But there's a constituency for the interest rates being low and there's no direct constituency for better public health (concentrated benefits vs. diffuse benefits) so presumably the opposite is much more likely.

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I don't see anything that wasn't already being done, other than pilot projects.

Again, if the fund is so critical, why did Obama propose taking from it, and why did the Dems voted to take from it?

Harte

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Well, yes. Prevention and public health are both critically important and chronically underfunded. I get that the "slush fund" nonsense is supposed to frame the slashing of their funding as some kind of exercise in good governance but the facade is pretty transparent.

Personnally, I'd rather pay for the education of the Future, rather then support the Health care of the Past.

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Personnally, I'd rather pay for the education of the Future, rather then support the Health care of the Past.

Your problem is that the well educated future will go there where life is more secure, like in having health care.

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Your problem is that the well educated future will go there where life is more secure, like in having health care.

But a better educated base means more future income to the government, and so then they CAN afford better health care. You have to pick the weeds before you water the flowers.

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Education should be funded on the local level only.

I think if people want to do so, health care should also be funded the same way.

I have a real problem with Washington proclaiming that what should occur in NYC is the same thing that should occur in Fort Scott Ks.

Harte

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nice to finally have you onboard, harte :tu:

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