GOP unveils spending bill that targets ObamaCare

GOP unveils spending bill that targets ObamaCare

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their healthcare spending bill, which moves to halt ObamaCare in its tracks while boosting healthcare funding by about $300 million overall. 

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The appropriations bill blocks funds from being used to “implement, administer, enforce, or further any provision of” ObamaCare.

The bill cannot end ObamaCare’s subsidies that help people afford insurance, because that is so-called mandatory spending not subject to the annual appropriations process. But the salaries of the employees who run ObamaCare are paid from the bill, and it blocks them from administering the law. 

Overall, the bill boosts spending for the Department of Health and Human Services by $298 million over last year’s level, to $71.3 billion. That is still about $4 billion below President Obama’s budget request. 

The bill also includes education and labor spending, and it is able to increase healthcare spending by cutting funding in those areas. The funding for all three departments combined is $3.7 billion below last year’s level. 

Whether the bill will ever make it into law is increasingly in doubt. Democrats have threatened to block the appropriations bills in a bid to get Republicans to negotiate on lifting the spending caps set in 2011.

Still, the bill shows some Republican backing for increasing health spending in certain areas. 

The measure lifts funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health by $1.1 billion, which is $100 million above Obama’s request. 

NIH funding has been a bipartisan priority, though the budget caps have posed an obstacle. 

House Republicans would also increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $140 million, equal to Obama’s request. 

That funding includes a $50 million boost to expand efforts to fight prescription drug abuse, which has been another bipartisan priority and championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE (R-Ky.). 

There is also $192 million more for Head Start, bringing the total to $8.8 billion. 

“This is a fiscally responsible bill that reduces discretionary spending by nearly $4 billion,” House Appropriations Health subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “At the same time, by carefully reprioritizing where taxpayer dollars are spent, the bill increases funding for important programs that benefit the American people.”