Talking Points

1. Talking points opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act  

  • Rising rates of preventable disease and death reveal that Americans are not as healthy as they could be, and that they are becoming increasingly unhealthy over time.
  • The enactment of the Affordable Care Act begins to shift our health system from one that focuses on treating the sick to one that focuses on keeping people healthy and addresses these challenges.
  • This year, the ACA is providing $750 million in mandatory funding to reduce tobacco use, improve nutrition, strengthen our state and local health departments and increase the availability and use of immunizations in an effort to prevent some of the leading causes of death.
  • These challenges include the escalating costs associated with our health care system, uneven quality and more than 100,000 deaths due to medical errors, discriminatory practices by health insurance providers and the shrinking ranks of the nation’s primary care providers.
  • The law expands affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage to an additional 32 million uninsured Americans.
  • The law prohibits individual and group health plans from placing lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage and prohibits pre-existing condition exclusions for children.
  • Cost-sharing is eliminated for Medicare beneficiaries for highly rated preventive services (including colorectal cancer screening) and Medicare beneficiaries will be covered for an annual wellness visit.
  • The law would strengthen measures to increase the public health and primary care workforce.
  • The Medicaid program will be expanded to cover millions of low income uninsured Americans.
  • The Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, or "doughnut hole" is phased out and completely eliminated by 2020.
  • The ACA contains provisions to advance efforts to address racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care by ending discriminatory practices, increasing coverage for care and preventive benefits and expanding initiatives to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the health care professions.
  • Allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.

 

2. Talking points opposing cuts to public health funding

  • Reducing the federal deficit and balancing the budget is an important public policy goal. However, drastically cutting public health funding at agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency will do more harm than good.
  • These agencies are our first line of defense against threats to our nation’s public health system.
  • Past cuts in public health funding have already required that our public health agencies to do more with less and struggle to provide basic health and prevention services.
  • The proposed cuts will seriously jeopardize public health agencies’ ability to ensure that the food we eat, the water we drink, the drugs we take, and the air we breathe is safe; and that we are prepared and protected in the event of a pandemic or other health emergency.
  • These proposed cuts would drastically impact local communities across the country by compromising their ability to appropriately respond to public health emergencies, eliminating public health jobs, and seriously threatening continued efforts to ensure the health and well-being of all Americans.
  • Proposed cuts to CDC immunization programs would result in cuts in state and local immunization workforce.
  • Cuts in funding to the CDC would harm efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HIAs) that patients acquire during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions. In 2002 an estimated 98,000 deaths were associated with HIAs contracted in hospitals.
  • Cuts to public health funding would be detrimental to community health centers and the populations they serve across the country. The proposed cuts would close 127 newly opened community health centers across the country.
  • The proposed funding reductions would leave 11 million patients without access to health care services next year – including pregnant women, individuals with life-threatening diseases, and children. With no access to primary care services, many of these individuals will turn to emergency rooms, drastically increasing costs for the entire health care system.
  • Proposals to use the Prevention and Public Health Fund to backfill cuts to core public health programs are also deeply troubling. This funding is intended to supplement the work of community-based health promotion programs and preventive health services to reduce chronic disease rates, not to supplant proposed cuts to existing programs.