Bill would boost CMS, HHS funding for health reform

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services may get an extra $1.38 billion in spending next year to help implement health reform previsions, despite Republican objections.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee voted 10 to 7 to provide $158.8 billion for the departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and related agencies in 2013, the committee announced Tuesday.

To further help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the bill also would boost the Center for Medicare & Medicare Services' budget to $3.16 billion from $2.61 billion this year.

Under the bill, funding for healthcare fraud prevention and enforcement would double to $610 million in 2013, according to the announcement. With current anti-fraud funding, the government expects to recover $1.2 billion for the first half of fiscal 2012.

But health reform funding may be hard to preserve if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down previsions of the ACA later this month, The Hill's On The Money blog noted.

On top of that, Republicans have maintained their efforts to defund health reform. Ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told The Hill he would never support a bill that funds health reform implementation. "The majority of Americans do not want the ACA because they know it will lead to higher taxes and lower quality of care," he said.

The full committee votes on the 2013 funding bill today, noted On The Money.

For more information:
- read the committee announcement
- read the Hill's On The Money blog post