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

House budget proposal includes painful cuts to public health, prevention

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA

Washington, D.C., May 7, 2012 – “The American Public Health Association is deeply concerned about drastic cuts being considered in the U.S. House Budget Committee reconciliation bill today that would seriously jeopardize efforts to protect public health and prevent our nation’s leading causes of premature death and disability.

“House leaders are proposing an unbalanced, unreasonable evisceration of important public health funding. The bill would set the country on a dangerous path toward deeper cuts in nondefense discretionary spending down the line. It would slash critical investments in federal programs, including $36 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, eliminating benefits to nearly 2 million people who currently depend on the program for food assistance. The budget would eliminate grants to states to create their own health insurance exchanges, a key provision in the Affordable Care Act. It would also cut funding for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by modifying payment rates to providers.

“APHA is very troubled that the budget proposal includes a measure to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, well-designated funding that supports efforts to prevent and promote early detection of some of our nation’s most feared and deadly chronic diseases.

“It is time Congress takes a closer look at the devastating impact these cuts could have on local communities. Thanks to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, more Americans have access to preventive screening, making diseases easier and less costly to treat. The fund is helping bolster public health infrastructure and train its workforce to address new and emerging health challenges. It is educating young people about the life-threatening consequences of smoking and supporting local projects aimed at improving nutrition and promoting physical activity.

"This bill does nothing to solve the deficit debate and should be denied."

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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.