For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or mediarelations@apha.org .

APHA Praises Senate for Protecting Prevention and Public Health Fund

Washington, D.C., September 14, 2010 –The American Public Health Association commends the U.S. Senate today for renewing its commitment to elevating the role of prevention in our nation’s health system by blocking a measure that would have effectively eliminated the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a historic investment in prevention and public health that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

In a 52-46 vote, the Senate voted against proceeding to consideration of an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) to the Small Business and Jobs Credit Act that would have repealed a provision in the new law requiring small businesses to report all transactions of $600 or more to the Internal Revenue Service. Johanns’ amendment would have been paid for by diverting $11 billion from the fund and by weakening the individual mandate for health insurance included in the health reform law.

“Chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke are the leading cause of premature disability and death and the primary driver of health care costs in our nation,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP, (E), executive director of APHA. “The prevention fund provides us with a tremendous opportunity to rein in health spending and transform the nation’s “sick care” system toward one focused on preventing disease before it occurs. It is a win-win for everyone, including the small business community.”

The fund is providing much needed financial support to evidence-based community prevention services, including breast and colon cancer screenings and smoking cessation programs. It is also being used to strengthen state and local public health infrastructure, support data collection and analysis for community-based and clinical-based prevention activities and to expand and improve training for the public health workforce.

“Today, the Senate signaled that it will not tolerate any efforts to undermine health reform and embraced public health and prevention as hallmarks of reform,” said Benjamin. “The public health community applauds the Senate for protecting the fund and appreciating the promise that disease prevention holds for all Americans.”

Last week, APHA issued an action alert in opposition of the amendment, which has thus far resulted in over 4,700 messages to the Senate. APHA has long advocated for a robust public health system that emphasizes prevention and will continue to protect the fund so that it is used to help fund critical preventive health services and wellness initiatives consistent with its original initial intent.

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.