The Hill: GOP seeks $4B for ObamaCare program

By Sam Baker – 04/17/13 07:52 PM ET

House Republicans are trying to pump $4 billion into an ObamaCare program.

The Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill Wednesday to beef up funding for the healthcare law’s high-risk insurance pools, which have stopped accepting new patients due to a lack of funding.

The additional money for high-risk pools would come out of another part of the healthcare law — its fund for prevention and public health, which Republicans decry as a “slush fund.”

It’s the first time Republicans have tried to fix, rather than repeal, a program in the healthcare law, and the move has angered many on the right.  

Some Republicans were clearly prepared for criticism.

“A minority of our conference feels that the only vote that should be taken against ObamaCare is a repeal vote — all or nothing, to kill it dead,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said. “I’ve always felt that … if we see areas we can chip away at, that are the most egregious parts of the bill, we really should do that.”

Republicans have a lot riding on the performance of the high-risk pools.

While the program is a relatively small piece of the Affordable Care Act, high-risk pools make up the cornerstone of Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the law. 

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