Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 236-183 Wednesday to pass H.R. 1217, a bill that would repeal a public health fund created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
All Republicans who voted supported the bill, and 4 of the 187 Democrats who voted supported it.
H.R. 1217 was introduced by Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pitts has accused the Democrats who drafted and voted for PPACA of including provisions that give the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) an unusual amount of freedom to spend $17 billion in PPACA implementation funding without seeking congressional approval.
If H.R. 1217 becomes law and is approved and implemented as written, the bill would repeal PPACA Section 4002, which gave HHS a new, flexible Prevention and Public Health Fund. The bill also would rescind any unobligated balance of any funds already made available under PPACA Section 4002.
The House Rules Committee earlier approved a resolution providing for a total of 2 hours of debate on the bill. The committee voted against letting members introduce any amendments to the bill or raising any points of order.
Pitts has said during Energy and Commerce hearings that he has no general objection to HHS public health efforts but would like to see public health programs go through the ordinary authorization and appropriations processes.