Public health bills clear House panel

In a press statement sent after the vote, Republicans called the measure "grossly intrusive."

But Baldwin said the information would be gathered "to the extent the secretary determines appropriate and practicable" and would be supplied voluntarily. She pointed out that the bill's language was included in the healthcare reform bill the House passed in November.

Two Republican amendments to the bill failed, 11-12. The first would have delayed the bill's implementation indefinitely, until the federal deficit is eliminated; the other would have barred the HHS secretary from making sexual orientation or gender identity a "health disparity population for any purpose."

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) sponsored the second amendment, arguing that the healthcare reform law "gives preference to entities that serve health disparity populations, thus disadvantaging other groups not in those categories."

Baldwin said the amendment defeated the whole purpose of her legislation.

"Obviously," she said, "if we collect data that shows that there are health disparities, we will want to address those."

Republicans also claimed that the Baldwin bill could cause children to ask themselves questions they're not ready to answer. Baldwin said her preference was for the health policy experts at HHS to determine how to ask the questions, but in the end a Republican amendment requiring parental consent for the collection of data from minors passed by unanimous consent.

The other bills that cleared the panel:

- H.R. 758, Pediatric Research Consortia Establishment Act

- H.R. 1032, Heart Disease Education, Analysis Research, and Treatment for Women Act

- H.R. 1230, Bone Marrow Failure Disease Research and Treatment Act of 2009

- H.R. 1347, Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act of 2009

- H.R. 1362, National MS and Parkinson's Disease Registries Act

- H.R. 1995, Eliminating Disparities in Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act of 2009

- H.R. 2408, Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act

- H.R. 2818, Methamphetamine Education, Treatment, and Hope Act of 2009

- H.R. 2941, Johanna’s Law Reauthorization

- H.R. 2999, Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act

- H.R. 5354,  Gestational Diabetes Act of 2009 or GEDI Act

- H.R. 5462, Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction, and Awareness Act of 2010

- H.R. 5986, Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act of 2010

- H.R. 6012, To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review uptake and utilization of diabetes screening benefits and establish an outreach program with respect to such benefits, and for other purposes

- H.R. 6081,  Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2010