More odd posts about words

I've noticed a new word turning up a lot lately. Actually, I don't think it's new so much as I've been reading more of the sorts of materials where it's mentioned, particularly discussions of Social Security, but that's neither here nor there. I just saw it again in a post at DeLong's and I can't take it anymore.

What in the world does the term "pre-funding" mean as opposed to "funding?" The temporal element is exactly the same.
It's generally used for when you're paying for something in advance of when you in particular are going to be using it, but funding does all the work necessary there. For instance, look at this sentence: Then the appropriate thing to do is start pre-funding a health care system for our retirement.

Now imagine that sentence without the prefix "pre." It would mean exactly the same thing. I cannot recall having ever seen the phrase pre-funding used where funding wouldn't have worked just as well. Please don't use the word pre-funding.

Google returns 65,000 hits on the word, including a company with the name. I gather that it's a term of art in discussions of Social Security and other pension systems, but I still fail to see a situation where "funding" wouldn't be able to do the same work.