No reform law funding included in newest spending proposal

Funding for the new healthcare reform law is noticeably absent from a bill to keep the government running through March 4, after Republicans objected to an earlier proposal because they said it funded reform.

The continuing resolution (CR) provides a small increase of $1.16 billion over fiscal 2010 levels, but does not fund reform law measures included in an earlier, comprehensive spending proposal.

Republicans had singled out measures in the failed 2,000-page proposal that would have funded a new Prevention and Public Health Fund, an “adjustment” to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s Program Management account, an increase to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to enforce new mandates and regulations, and a national healthcare workforce commission. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scrapped the proposal last week when Republicans raised concerns about reform funding and earmarks included in the bill.

The new 36-page CR mentions only one HHS program, which ensures that the department designates the same amount for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding as it did during the same period during fiscal 2010.

The Senate is expected to vote on a procedural motion Tuesday morning to advance the CR to a final vote. The government is currently running on a three-day CR that will expire Tuesday.