For Immediate Release: January 15, 2009
Trust for America’s Health Welcomes Investment in Prevention and Preparedness Included in U.S. House Stimulus Package
WASHINGTON, DC - Trust for America's Health (TFAH) welcomed the announcement by the House Appropriations Committee that the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act will include needed investments to improve public health and prevention in the U.S.
The House plan includes a proposed investment of:
- $3 billion for disease prevention
- $20 billion for health information technology (HIT)
- $900 million for biomedical advanced research and development, pandemic flu, and cyber security
"Saving our economy is inextricably tied to strengthening the health of our nation," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health. "This investment by the House could make a major difference in improving the health of Americans and preventing disease, which is one of the most effective and overlooked ways to reduce the healthcare costs that are currently overwhelming our health system, businesses, and American families."
The $3 billion for disease prevention would focus on reducing healthcare costs by augmenting funding for state and local public health departments, immunization programs, and evidence-based disease prevention. TFAH recently released Prevention for a Healthier America, a study that found that for every $1 spent on proven community-based disease prevention programs, the country could net a return of $5.60 in health care costs within five years.
A portion of the $20 billion for health information technology (HIT) could be used to assist public health agencies in developing their capacity to incorporate their critical disease detection and surveillance functions into a modernized HIT system.
The $900 million for biomedical advanced research and development, pandemic flu, and cyber security are critically needed to improve the nation's scientific capacity to prevent or respond to naturally occurring or man made biological threats.
"This is an unprecedented one-time investment in public health," noted Levi. "We look forward to working with Congress and the incoming Obama Administration to assure that these funds are targeted to effective prevention programs that reach Americans in the communities where they live."
TFAH's Prevention for a Healthier America study found that many effective community-based prevention programs cost less than $10 per person per year, and that these programs have delivered results in lowering rates of diseases that are related to physical activity, nutrition, and smoking. This in turn results in lowered healthcare costs. These findings are based on an economic model developed by researchers at the Urban Institute and a review of evidence-based studies conducted by the New York Academy of Medicine. The report focused on disease prevention programs that do not require medical care and target communities or at-risk segments of communities.
The report can be found in full at TFAH's website http://healthyamericans.org/.
Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.