Burgess Legislation Passes House And Repeals Mandatory Funding

May 5, 2011 - Today legislation sponsored by Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26) passed the United States House of Representatives. The legislation, H.R. 1214, repeals reckless mandatory funding for school based health center construction that was included in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

"This legislation is a simple bill aimed at a simple goal," said Dr. Burgess. "The goal being to get at some of the spending that the PPACA unwisely treated to an advanced appropriation. This bill does not touch the discretionary program to provide care. What it does do is rescind any unspent funds and return them to the treasury. In our current financial times it is not only necessary, but our responsibility, that we examine all of our spending and make the necessary adjustments."

Section 4101(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides $50 million in mandatory spending for construction and expansion of school based health centers every year through 2013. The $50 million in grants are for construction only and there is an express prohibition on these funds being used to provide health services. Secretary of Health and Human, Kathleen Sebelius, will have complete discretion on how to use the funding.

"I am not against school based health centers," said Dr. Burgess. "I am on record supporting them and believe opening health care points of access is important. I want to do more in this realm, but providing mandatory spending to construct facilities without adequate safeguards that they will provide care is irresponsible. Not one guarantee of a doctor, not one cent of payment for an immunization, not one ounce of common sense in this section of PPACA."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R.1214 will give $100 million back to the Treasury. The legislation has received support from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayer Union.

H.R. 1214 passed the House with a vote of 235 to 191. It will now move to the Senate for debate and a vote.

Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.