Funding divisions place programs at risk, Republicans warn

Senate Republicans raised concerns on Wednesday about funding issues during an appropriations subcommittee hearing on the 2013 Department of Health and Human Services budget proposal.

At the heart of the issue was the proposed division of funding sources for important healthcare programs.

"By combining discretionary and mandatory funding streams, the majority of the Affordable Care Act circumvents the yearly appropriations process that is crucial to providing transparency to funding decisions," Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in his opening statement.

Republican senators also raised concerns that the dual funding of programs through both the Affordable Care Act and HHS would lead to both a wasteful over-allocation of funds as well as a severe underfunding of crucial programs were the ACA to be repealed.

Senator Shelby pointed to federally supported vaccination programs as potential victims of this funding model.

"When the Affordable Care Act is repealed, many important programs like Community Health Centers and the Section 317 Immunization program at the Centers for Disease Control will be in jeopardy because their base funding... has been so significantly reduced," Shelby said.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was also highly critical of the plan, outlining a list of "broken promises" by the administration, ending by stating that the "bottom line is, the cost of this healthcare bill is so uncertain, shouldn't we want to put on the brakes here?"