APHA disappointed by House's FY 2016 Labor-HHS funding bill

Date: Jun 18 2015

Contact: Mandi Yohn, 202-777-2509

APHA disappointed by House Appropriations Committee’s fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill 

Legislation would defund Affordable Care Act programs and family planning services

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2015 — The American Public Health Association voiced strong disappointment with the fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill approved yesterday by the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill contains several provisions that threaten programs critical to protecting public health. While APHA strongly supports increases for agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these increases must not come at the expense of other equally important programs.

“The funding levels in this bill are simply not adequate,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD. “Ongoing austerity measures including sequestration continue to limit the needed funding for programs that enable Americans and the communities in which we live to be safe, to be healthy and to thrive.”

The bill cuts funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration and eliminates the agency’s Title X Family Planning Program, which provides family planning services and other preventative health care for low-income, under-insured and uninsured Americans. Other casualties of the bill include termination of the entire Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which provides critical research to improve quality, safety and efficiency and reduce costs in the health care system.

The bill would also defund programs under the Affordable Care Act and prohibit its implementation. It rescinds prior-year mandatory funds and blocks the use of any new discretionary funding to the ACA.

“The ACA and Title X have been instrumental in providing health care services to millions of Americans in need. By slashing funds to these programs, Congress is putting the nation’s health at risk,” said Benjamin. “Congress should take this opportunity to reassess the impact these funding cuts will have on public health. We must strive toward crafting policy that protects vital public health services, ensures access to care and eliminates health disparities.”

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a 140-plus year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit www.apha.org.