Washington, D.C., July 11, 2013 – The American Public Health Association welcomes the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill approved today that would secure vital investments in prevention and public health initiatives. In passing its fiscal year 2014 spending bill, the committee included $7.023 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $6.365 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration. This important funding will support proven community-based health programs that are critical to saving lives and reducing health care costs, particularly in communities that face rising rates of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The proposal also plays an important role in fulfilling the promise of the Affordable Care Act by fully funding the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created by the Affordable Care Act to ensure a stable funding stream for public health and wellness programs even during tough fiscal times like today. The spending bill would secure $943 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and includes $1.6 billion to support community health centers. The proposal also calls for reinstituting desperately needed funding at CDC to research the causes of and solutions to prevent gun violence.
“We are grateful to the Senate Appropriations Committee for supporting programs that emphasize disease prevention and recognizing the significant return on investment they can deliver to communities across the country,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “We have made tremendous improvements to our nation’s overall health thanks to vital public health measures that help prevent disease and promote health,” said Benjamin.“Yet, we stand to lose ground on these important gains if we do not adequately and consistently support our nation’s public health system. In the end, unless Congress adequately funds public health, we threaten to stall progress we’re making in curbing rates of our nation’s most feared diseases and keeping people safe.”
“While the Senate committee’s spending bill supports critical investments to improve the nation’s health, it will be immaterial if Congress does not work in a bipartisan manner to find a balanced deficit reduction proposal that ends sequestration and prioritizes public health.”
APHA urges the full Senate to swiftly pass the approved appropriations bill when it reaches the floor.