For Immediate Release: March 29, 2012
Trust for America’s Health and Over 120 National Organizations Send Letter To President Barack Obama and Congress Expressing Deep Disappointment on the Reduced Investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund
Washington, D.C., March 29, 2012 – Two years ago, the federal government made a historic investment in turning the country’s sick care system into a true health care system by creating the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The fund needs to be fully supported to effectively impact the nation’s ability to control health care costs and ensure this generation is not the first to lead shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.
The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and leaders from over 120 national organizations have sent a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress expressing deep disappointment on the reduced investment in the Prevention Fund, as a result of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.
The groups call on President Obama and Congress to “publicly state your commitment to oppose any future cuts in the Fund.”
The letter, in part, states:
“As leaders of national organizations committed to the public’s health, we are writing to express our deep disappointment in your Administration’s support for reducing the investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund). The proposed cut to the Fund in your FY2013 budget helped pave the way for the $6.25 billion cut that was included in HR 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which you signed into law in February. This represents an enormous step backward in our commitment to prevention and compromises our ability to make progress on cost containment, public health modernization, and wellness promotion. We urge you to publicly state your commitment to oppose any future cuts in the Fund.
Less than five percent of national health spending is devoted to public health. Prior to creation of the Fund, there was no reliable investment to promote wellness, prevent disease and protect against public health or bioterrorism emergencies. The consequences of years of neglect are clear – hundreds of billions of dollars in mandatory funding are spent each year through Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs to pay for health care services once patients develop an acute illness, disability, injury, or chronic disease and present for treatment in our health care system.
Reflective of the fact that evidence-based prevention programs are the key to reducing health costs, prevention was one of the three key pillars of health reform. The Prevention and Public Health Fund was created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and designed as a guaranteed funding stream and an ongoing commitment to prevention. While the cost of the Fund represented just two percent of the outlays authorized by the ACA, states and communities are already using these prevention dollars to build epidemiology and laboratory capacity to track and respond to disease outbreaks, train the nation's public health workforce, modernize vaccine systems, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduce tobacco use, promote behavioral health, prevent injuries, help control the obesity epidemic, reduce health disparities, and build the evidence base to continually enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these public health programs.
This small but vitally important investment is essential if we are to reduce the growth of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which are the primary drivers in the increase in health costs. Research shows that if current trends continue, obesity rates could be expected to grow from 32 percent to 50-51 percent for men and 45-52 percent for women by 2030. Based on historic trends, by 2030 the United States would spend an additional $66 billion a year on treating obesity-related conditions, while experiencing a loss in economic productivity as high as $540 billion. According to a recent study in Health Affairs, current obesity-related medical costs total $147 billion a year, or nearly 10 percent of all annual medical spending, based on 2006 data. However, if we are able to reduce average body mass index by five percent the United States would save $29.8 billion in five years, $158.1 billion in ten years, and $611.7 billion in twenty years.”
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. www.healthyamericans.org
The letter was signed by the following: A World Fit For Kids!; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Academy Health; Adventist HealthCare, Inc.; AIDS Alliance for Children Youth & Families; AIDS United; Alliance for a Just Society; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of Colleges of Nursing; American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; American Association of Poison Control Centers; American Association on Health and Disability; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; American College of Preventive Medicine; American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association | American Stroke Association; American Hiking Society; American Kidney Fund; American Lung Association; American Medical Student Association (AMSA); American Public Health Association; American Sleep Apnea Association; Arthritis Foundation; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center; Association for Prevention Teaching and Research; Association of Black Cardiologists; Association of Community Health Nursing Educators; Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; Association of Population Centers; Association of Public Health Laboratories; Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing (ASTDN); Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Center for Science in the Public Interest; Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition; Children's Dental Health Project; Coalition for Health Funding; Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc. (COA); CommonHealth ACTION; Community Catalyst; Corporate Hepatitis Alliance; Dialysis Patient Citizens; Directors of Health Promotion and Education; Disability Policy Consortium; Doctors for America; Health Promotion Advocates; HIV Medicine Association; Immunization Action Coalition; Infectious Diseases Society of America; INSPIREHealth.org; March of Dimes; MEND Foundation; Mental Health America; Metropolitan Community Churches; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD); National Assembly on School-Based Health Care; National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS); National Association of Chronic Disease Directors; National Association of Counties; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors; National Association of Local Boards of Health; National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA); National Association of State Head Injury Administrators; National Coalition for LGBT Health; National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity; National Coalition of STD Directors; National Coalition on Health Care; National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare; National Council of La Raza; National Council on Aging; National Environmental Health Association (NEHA); National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention; National Health Equity Coalition; National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN); National MS Society; National Network of Public Health Institutes; National Nursing Centers Consortium; National REACH Coalition; National Recreation and Park Association; National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable; National WIC Association; Nemours; North American Management; North American Quitline Consortium; Novo Nordisk; Papa Ola Lokahi; Partnership for Prevention; Population Association of America; Prevent Blindness America; Prevent Cancer Foundation; Prevention Connections; Prevention Institute; Public Health Foundation; Public Health Institute; Public Health Law & Policy; Public Health Solutions; Rails-to-Trails Conservancy; Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need; Rescue Social Change Group; Research Institute for Independent Living; RWJF Center for Health Policy; Safe Routes to School National Partnership; Safe States Alliance; Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine; Society for Public Health Education; State Associations of Addiction Services; Tethys Bioscience, Inc.; The Arc of the US; The Global Justice Institute; The Main Street Alliance; The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health; The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America; Trust for America's Health; U.S. Soccer Foundation; United States Breastfeeding Committee; Voices for America’s Children