The House passed a bill repealing the prevention and public health funding provision of the Affordable Care Act. The chamber voted 236-183 to strip the mandatory funding of the trust fund. The Senate is not likely to pass the bill and the President has vowed to veto it. The Department of Health and Human Services recently allocated $750 million of the trust fund to support programs aimed at preventing smoking, obesity, diabetes, stroke and other prevention issues.
The Department of Labor has sent to the Department of Health and Human Services the report required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on what medical benefits are typically covered by employer health insurance plans. This report is to be used to help define what is included in the essential benefits package at the health insurance plans sold in the new exchanges. HHS is also awaiting recommendations from the Institute of Medicine on what should be part of the package. Together these will help HHS develop regulations implementing this important provision. The disability community is advocating that the law required that benefits be comprehensive and to include rehabilitation, habilitation, durable medical equipment, mental health and behavioral health services and others.