The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled this week to consider its part of the House’s budget reconciliation bill, which would eliminate health reform’s Prevention and Public Health Fund — defunding critical investments in areas such as responding to infectious diseases, reducing tobacco use, and immunizing children.
Under current law, the Prevention and Public Health Fund will provide $15.5 billion over the next ten years and $2 billion a year thereafter for a broad range of initiatives to advance prevention and public health, improve health outcomes, and enhance health care quality. The programs it funded this year include:
- Strengthening states’ and localities’ ability to detect and respond to infectious diseases and other public health threats, such as foodborne diseases.
- Preventing diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
- Reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Providing breast cancer screening, outreach, and case management.
- Improving access to immunizations for children, adolescents, and adults.
- Promoting breastfeeding.
- Preventing childhood lead poisoning.
- Preventing youth suicides.
- Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in access to care and in health outcomes.
- Providing specialized services for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Helping older adults and adults with disabilities manage their chronic conditions.
To support the continued financing of these important activities, the American Public Health Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, March of Dimes, and other national organizations strongly opposed legislation earlier this year to substantially cut the Fund. The House bill would go a step further and eliminate it entirely.