Cutting public health to pay for student loans

Mitchell Hartman May 8, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: The big debate in Washington isn’t whether to reduce rates, but how to pay for it. Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman tells us now about the Republican plan.

Mitchell Hartman: The GOP has been trying to grab money from the Affordable Care Act to fund politically popular items like low-cost student loans. Last month, the House passed its version — taking $12 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. It’s supposed to pay for things like bike lanes and nutrition programs to fight obesity and anti-smoking campaigns.

Here’s how Illinois Congresswoman Judy Biggert characterized the money:

Judy Biggert: Nothing more than an open-ended fund that has no clear oversight or purpose.

Not so, says Matthew Marsom of the Public Health Institute.

Matthew Marsom: Never before has there been this type of investment to make sure that the communities that don’t have the type of funding that’s necessary can prevent the burden of disease that’s costing business and costing all of us through chronic disease.

Marsom’s group helps administer the health prevention program in more than 40 rural counties in California and has been lobbying to keep the money flowing.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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