This Sunday, during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was asked about the House Republicans’ plan to avoid an increase in student loan interest rates by taking money from a health care fund that particularly benefits women. The Prevention and Public Health Fund, created by the Affordable Care Act, provides states and communities with funds for “promoting wellness, preventing disease, and protecting against public health emergencies.”
But Boehner, noting that the Obama administration had earlier agreed to take some money out of the account to pay for the payroll tax cut extension, claimed that none of the money in the account benefits women. He told Crowley:
CROWLEY: We have [House Democratic Leader] Nancy Pelosi out there saying, well, they want to protect the big oil companies because they want to pay for the student loan interest rates by closing loopholes in the oil industry and we want to protect women’s health. We want to prevent breast cancer and cervical cancer and that’s what this fund is for.
BOEHNER: That is just nonsense. There’s no women’s health issue here.
CROWLEY: It’s a preventive fund, isn’t it?
BOEHNER: I’ll guarantee you they’ve not spent a dime out of this fund dealing with anything to do with women’s health.
Watch the video:
Boehner’s statement is absolutely false. The fund has already been used to provide health care workforce development and public health initiatives to combat diseases like obesity, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It will soon invest millions more in cancer screenings, immunizations, and detection of birth defects — benefits with particularly benefit women. Already, $17 million from the fund has gone to grants in Boehner’s own state of Ohio to provide community prevention, clinical prevention, public health infrastructure and training, and research and data collection.
Rather than protect student loan rates by ending special corporate tax breaks for hugely profitable oil companies, Boehner is asking Americans to choose between enabling students to afford college and investing in preventative care for women and children.