For Immediate Release
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House budget resolution would ‘devastate’ nation’s public health system, says APHA

Washington, D.C., March 28, 2012 — The American Public Health Association announced its strong opposition to the budget resolution that the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week.

In a letter sent to members of Congress yesterday opposing the measure, APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), wrote that cuts contained in the proposal ”would devastate our nation’s public health and safety net system and would have a disproportionate impact on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. It would undertake a major restructuring of the Medicare and Medicaid programs that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries and force states to scale back benefits to those enrolled in Medicaid. In addition, the proposal would repeal key public health and prevention, consumer protection and affordability provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

The Association noted the fiscal challenges facing public health agencies that are already struggling to provide basic health and prevention services.

“Additional cuts to nondefense discretionary programs will seriously jeopardize efforts to protect public health, reduce the burden of chronic disease and to ensure we're prepared and protected in the event of a pandemic or other health emergency,” wrote Benjamin. “Simply put, our federal, state and local public health agencies will not be able to do their jobs to protect the health of the American people if these drastic cuts are enacted, and the long-term medical and human costs will far outweigh the savings.”

APHA urged members of the House to oppose the resolution and work instead to “develop a bipartisan plan that invests in public health and prevention, truly strengthens the Medicare and Medicaid programs and supports efforts to make comprehensive health insurance coverage available.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest 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.