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

Cutting prevention fund sets dangerous precedent and puts public health in peril

Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 2012 – The American Public Health Association issued a warning today to Congress about eliminating hard-fought, critically needed funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a pillar of the Affordable Care Act.

The following is a statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA.

“APHA is deeply disappointed by a measure today to eliminate designated funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to offset cuts to Medicare physician payments. This misguided decision flies in the face of years of dedicated work by the public health community – and Congress – to transform our once ‘sick care’ system to one focused on health and wellness.

“Eliminating prevention funding is not without dangerous risk. It could seriously weaken efforts to respond to public health threats and outbreaks and could cost billions of dollars in health expenses along the way.

“Today’s decision signals that some members of Congress continue to lack a commitment to reduce the growing burden of chronic disease and promote health and wellness in our country. Prevention funding is vital for public health professionals on the front lines of fighting obesity, reducing tobacco use, and improving access to preventive care services in communities across the country.

“Public health has been challenged by a tough economy over the past few years, battling budget cuts and workforce shortages resulting in cuts to or even elimination of critical programs that communities rely on to keep them healthy and safe. We’ve come too far and gained too much to deny ourselves the one of the most significant opportunities we have to make prevention work.”

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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.