Board of Supervisors Looking to Butt Heads Again With ‘Obamacare’

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors get another chance to butt heads with the national healthcare reform law Tuesday when they consider changes to a federally financed AIDS services contract that could include money from the new law.

The board voted to accept an $880,528 state Department of Public Health grant last August to expand HIV testing. The grant was federally financed, and the county staff report stated about 7 percent or $4.3 million of the $60 million spent nationally on the programs came from the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, which is the official name of the law.

The county staff report stated it could not be determined how much of the national healthcare reform funds were included in Orange County’s grant.

The all-Republican board has made it a point to turn down money tied to the new law, which they and other opponents refer to as “Obamacare.” Supervisors have, however, had trouble being consistent in their opposition.

For example, last summer the board rejected $10 million in federal funds to fight obesity, smoking and other health issues because the money came via the new healthcare reform law.

Then last month they turned down another $40,000 health care grant that was financed with healthcare reform dollars. But that same day, they agreed to a $333,000 increase to the AIDS contract they approved in August for expanded HIV testing.

And on Tuesday’s agenda is a federally financed grant adding $869,172 to an existing Orange County program for a new HIV testing program. The money comes from the same pot that includes funds from the healthcare reform law.

So what will the supervisors do?

“I would just say, ‘stay tuned,’ ” said Chairman John Moorlach.

— TRACY WOOD

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