Harkin said the prevention fund supports programs to reduce heart disease, diabetes, smoking and obesity and funds immunizations for children. He said these investments save money in the long run through Medicare savings and by making the public healthier.

“I have been saying for 20 years or more that we don’t have a healthcare system in America, we have a sick care system,” Harkin said. “Prevention is the best medicine for our bodies and our budgets.” 

Harkin said this “shortsighted” raid on the prevention fund showed “misplaced priorities” by the administration.

“I’m unsure as to who is giving this advise to the president, but I want to say Mr. President, you’re getting bad advice,” Harkin said.

Harkin added that he would remove his block on the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and that the only reason he had blocked her nomination was to bring awareness to the administrations’ poor decision to “raid” the prevention fund. He said he hoped that would encourage the administration to vow not to take money from that fund again in the future.