Prevention and Public Health Fund on the Chopping Block?

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, the CDC could see a 12.4 percent budget cut.

By | March 6, 2017

WIKIMEDIA, CDC/JAMES GATHANY

Update (March 7): House Republicans have released a plan to “repeal and replace” the ACA, which includes the elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund by 2019, Vox reported.

“Look, it’s a slush fund,” Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) told
STAT News. “It’s been used by the secretary [of Health and Human Services] for whatever the secretary wants. It’s a misnomer to call it the Prevention and Public Health Fund, because it’s been used for other things, and it’s about time we eliminated it.”

“The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides vital resources to governmental public health at the federal, state, and local levels, and its elimination will serve to further erode our public health system,” Laura Hanen, government affairs chief at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said in a statement. “Congress continues to invest the nation’s health resources in a sick care system, while severely scaling back investment in programs that prevent people from getting sick in the first place.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), currently supports US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programming on lead poisoning prevention, immunizations, and state-level public health initiatives. Since fiscal year 2010, contributions from the Prevention and Public Health Fund have grown to represent “from 2.8 [percent] to 12.4 percent of CDC’s total program budget over the past few years,” agency spokesperson Kathy Harben wrote in an email to The Scientist.

But if the ACA is repealed, this fund could disappear, along with its budget allocation. The fund fully supports the CDC’s Public Health and Social Services Block Grant—which enables the agency to provide flexible funds to state health departments—as well as its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program. The ACA-linked fund also supplies 50 percent of the CDC’s budget for a national immunization program, which “protects individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases through purchase vaccine, financial support of immunization state programs, provider and public education, and evaluation and research,” according to the agency.

“One of the reasons for the fund was to make up for years of chronic underfunding of public health,” Richard Hamburg, deputy director of the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, told USA Today in January, after the US House of Representatives paved the legislative way for the Congressional effort to “repeal and replace” the ACA.

“If the Prevention [and Public Health] Fund is eliminated in the future, CDC is hopeful Congress replaces the funding with new budget authority to continue these critical public health programs,” Harben wrote.

See “Science Policy in 2017

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Comments

Avatar of: MikeH

MikeH

Posts: 16

March 8, 2017

But, but ... that's science, and we can't trust science.  It's only real if our Great and Wonderful President says its real, or, even better, Sean Hannity.

Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 229

March 8, 2017

One of the responsibilities of representational government is to protect its citizens.  The CDC does a vital job in that role.  When any state or municipality has a problem with anything disease-related, the first place they call is the CDC.  There is no "waste" there.  Touch their budget, and people are going to die.  No if's, and's, or but's.  If this is allowed to stand, the Republican Congress and President will have blood on their hands when full-blown, have-money-or-die social Darwinism is implemented.  

 

The non-existent "Death Panels" of the ACA gained notoriety with the Far Right.  Let's hope this actual Republican "Death Act" draws the same attention.

Avatar of: True Scientist

True Scientist

Posts: 59

Replied to a comment from MikeH made on March 8, 2017

March 9, 2017

We can not trust our President (who really is Great and Wonderful at that), we can not trust Sean Hannity when he speaks openly. We can only trust those who claim to be scientists and insist on saving our lives day and night and want more and more money for that. How can somebody say No to this Great and Wonderful bubble? We are probably expected to double their funding so they can keep doing for $1000's something that can be done for $10's of dollars. Stop looting public funds, pseudo-scientists!

Avatar of: True Scientist

True Scientist

Posts: 59

Replied to a comment from Paul Stein made on March 8, 2017

March 9, 2017

That's it, the Doom's Day has come and we all are going to die because of suggested 10% cut of CDC funding. If it happens they will have money only for their administration and most prominent scientists, I guess.  Nobody will answer phone calls coming from states and municipalities all over the country... And smiling blood-thirsty President will be sitting at Sean Hannity show sharing his plans to spread accountability on other federal agencies as well.... What a horror picture!

Yes, there are if's, and's, or but's as well as lots of "waste" there. Touch their budget, and nobody will die. Are not they supposed to be accountable and operate effectively, more and more so, as everybody else? Or is it out of discussion because they can hide behind "Death Panels", "Death Act", etc banners? Clean up your mind and soul, Paul, and do not worry about imaginable blood on hands of the Republican Congress and President, which you are so eager to find.

 

Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 229

Replied to a comment from True Scientist made on March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

12.4%.  With more and more deadly viruses seen crossing our borders in the past few years, with many more surely on the way in time, cutting any money on such a vital operation with an already razor thin budget is sheer stupidity and denial of the readily foreseeable.  Knowing first hand exactly what the CDC does each and every day, yeah, it's going to be a horror story.  Wait for it.  Oh, and to worry about the health and well-being of one's fellow citizens is the definition of a clean soul.

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