HHS would receive an increase of $260 million, or less than 1%, in fiscal 2012 under a funding bill adopted today by the Senate Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
Senate panel OKs HHS funding bill
The bill, adopted on a 10-8 party-line vote, would increase HHS funding to $70.44 billion and provide monies for various initiatives authorized—but not funded by—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The bill would provide $4 billion for operations at the CMS, which is primarily responsible for implementing the 2010 healthcare law, and that is an increase from its current $3.6 billion in funding. Separate ACA funds also were included in the bill, but their total amount is unknown, according to a Democratic staffer for the panel.
Republican committee members blamed the funding for the healthcare law for their opposition to the bill, including such controversial provisions as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) predicted that the bill will fail to pass the full chamber, where 60 votes are needed.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the panel, spoke to reporters after the hearing and agreed that the bill's funding for the health law faces large obstacles, including strong opposition in Republican-led House. Ultimately, he said, much of its ACA funding would likely clear Congress through a must-pass, late-in-the-year omnibus bill.
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