Statement from Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association
Washington, D.C., June 27, 2013 — A year ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court protected the health of all Americans by upholding the Affordable Care Act. This historic decision cemented the transformation of our nation’s health system from one that focuses on treating disease to one focused on prevention and wellness.
At the heart of this system-wide change is the law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The fund assures unprecedented investment in prevention for our nation, where seven in 10 U.S. deaths are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. It also offers a strategic investment in prevention that saves lives, saves money and adds value to the health care coverage provisions of the law.
The Prevention Fund, through supporting evidence-based community prevention programs, has already spearheaded several public health feats. It led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign to more than 200,000 increased calls to the national smoking quitline. The Administration on Aging reports that over 164,000 individuals have benefited from chronic disease self-management education programs supported by the Prevention Fund. And Community Transformation Grants awarded by the fund have led to more than 50 health milestones that have effectively curbed disease, thwarted injuries and created healthier lifestyles.
The Affordable Care Act and its Prevention and Public Health Fund offer our best hope for improving health outcomes and curbing the unsustainable growth of chronic disease in our nation while reducing health costs. The Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision a year ago, but the health of our nation rests in our hands. It’s imperative that we work to fully implement the law and protect its funding and programs to the fullest.
For more about APHA, visit www.apha.org.