Press Release

Big Cities Health Coalition Welcomes U.S. House Appropriations Vote Creating New Investments in Public Health, Urges Senate Action

December 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2019             

Chrissie Juliano, MPP, Executive Director, issued the following statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C – The Big Cities Health Coalition, representing the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments, welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives vote to advance the fiscal year 2020 appropriations agreement. The group particularly applauded new funds made available for crucial public health and prevention work at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Congress just voted to promote and protect the health of Americans by supporting the important work of governmental public health, giving much needed resources to those who keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Chrissie Juliano, MPP, Executive Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “This bill funds important initiatives at the CDC and elsewhere that will help local health departments tackle a variety of challenges, ranging from infectious disease to the opioid epidemic.

“This legislation takes needed steps forward in a key policy areas. For the first time in decades, the CDC is explicitly funded to research the causes and effects of gun violence in America. This is welcome, and long overdue; complementary funds to the NIH will also explore additional gun violence research.

“The bill also raises the tobacco sales age to 21, following the lead of localities and states across the country. This is important progress that will help keep young people safe from the biggest preventable cause of death in America: tobacco. However, without strong action restricting flavors in both traditional and e-cigarettes, lawmakers are not leveraging the strongest defenses to protect our nation’s children.

“Congress had appropriated money for key programs that will support the health of the public across the country. It is now time for the federal agencies to ensure that these dollars get to those communities most in need in an efficient and timely manner.”

The bill includes a total of $8 billion for the CDC, a key funder of local public health. This is $636 million increase from fiscal year 2019, which positions CDC to reach a 22% increase in funding by 2022. Such an increase is a key goal of public health leaders, who emphasize that new investments are needed not just at the agency, but also because many local health departments are recovering from deep budgets cuts over the last decade, along with a chronic underinvestment to address the ever-growing list of public health challenges facing our communities.

The bill includes significant investments in our nation’s public health infrastructure including:

·      For the first time in more than 20 years, the bill includes funding – $12.5 million – to support firearm injury and mortality prevention research.

·      $10 million in new funding for suicide prevention.

·       $4 million in new funding to prevent adverse childhood experiences.

·      $230 million, an increase of $20 million, to address tobacco and e-cigarettes, which should support work in state and local health departments to address the e-cigarette epidemic in youth.

·      $50 million to modernize public health surveillance and data analytics capacity at CDC and its public health partners at the state and local levels.

·      $140 million for the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative to reduce new HIV infections by 90% in 10 years.

·      $476 million for opioid abuse and overdose prevention with a directive that funding should be sent directly to local communities.

·      $616 million for the National Immunization Program, a $5 million increase, in response to the nation’s numerous vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks that occurred in recent years.

·      $51 million for public health workforce programs at CDC.

CONTACT: Max Mays mays@bigcitieshealth.org or 913-233-6830 

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About the Big Cities Health Coalition

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 nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit https://www.bigcitieshealth.org.