House should reject the proposed cuts to Prevention and Public Health Fund
BCHC has signed onto a letter led by Trust for America’s Health opposing the proposed use of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Prevention Fund) as an offset for H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act of 2023. This amendment would cut $1.19 billion from critical public health funding from Fiscal Years 2024–2029, a roughly 13 percent reduction over that time period.
The nation spends more than $4.3 trillion annually on health, yet only about 4.4 percent of that total represents spending on public health and prevention. Despite spending more than any other high-income nation on treating disease, the U.S. has substantially worse health outcomes, with life expectancy declining in recent years. The Prevention Fund currently comprises more than 10 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) entire annual operating budget. Cuts to the Prevention Fund will translate into funding shortfalls in programs that state and local jurisdictions have long relied upon to keep their residents healthy and safe. In its first 14 years (FY2010–23), the Prevention Fund has invested more than $12.3 billion in resources to states, localities, and tribal and community organizations in support of critical prevention and public health programs. These investments include the 317 immunization program that enables prevention of outbreaks, epidemiologists and public health laboratory grants in every state and U.S. territory to detect and investigate outbreaks and prevent further infections, the Preventive Health and Health Services (Prevent) Block Grant that enables states and localities to address their most pressing health concerns, supporting cancer screenings, and other vitally important programs.
Funding prevention not only saves lives, but it also saves money. The Prevention Fund’s Tips from Former Smokers Campaign alone saved an estimated $7.3 billion in smoking-related healthcare costs from 2012 to 2018 and helped more than one million Americans quit smoking for good. Public health funding has not kept up with the range of threats that public health must address. For many of these conditions, we know what works, but public health does not have the resources to address these growing health threats.
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