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June 22, 2017                                                                                                                                    Liz Voyles, 202-297-9641, liz@brassrc.com

 

Big Cities Health Coalition Condemns Senate’s

“Better Care Reconciliation Act” 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republicans finally released a draft of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” today after weeks of secret discussions.  The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) expressed deep concern over the bill’s provisions, and its potential effect on the public’s health.

BCHC is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. The Coalition is an independent project of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 54 million people, or one in six Americans.

“This bill is even worse than expected on the public health and prevention front. It builds upon the damage to the public health system that the U.S. House version posed and would consequently be catastrophic for local communities across the country if it becomes law,” said Chrissie Juliano, Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition.  “In addition to the coverage losses and cuts in Medicaid – deeply disturbing on their own – the Senate proposal eliminates the Prevention and Public Health Fund effective October 1st. These dollars support the core of public health in America – the activities that help keep local communities safe and free of disease. If passed as proposed, this legislation will weaken local health departments’ ability to prevent and fight foodborne illness outbreaks and make us more vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola.”

On top of the millions who would lose health care coverage, the proposed bill would also eliminate critical public health funding by repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which makes up 12 percent of the budget at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government agency that provides large amounts of funding to local and state governmental health departments. The bill would also cut back the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which provides increased access to preventive and primary care for many of the nation’s most vulnerable. 

This legislation's passage would mean that thousands of local health departments all over the country will lose large amounts of funding, and consequently, the nation will be at greater risk in the fight against chronic disease, infectious disease, and many other public health challenges.

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 54 million people, or one in six Americans. The Big Cities Health Coalition is an independent project of the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). For more information, please visit http://www.bigcitieshealth.org/.

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