If there was ever a time to recognize the necessity of expanding access to meaningful health coverage, it’s now.
Fighting for Prevention Funds
The phrase an ounce of prevention saves lives and money means a lot to me and my family. My wife and I are diligent about talking with our doctors and ensuring we are getting the necessary cancer screenings. All Americans deserve access to these lifesaving tests and other cancer prevention measures, but a public health fund designed to do just that is in jeopardy. The Prevention and Public Health Fund was established under the Affordable Care Act and set an unprecedented investment to promote a healthy nation. This year, the Prevention Fund allocated $1 billion to communities in every state, and over the course of its first 10 years (Fiscal Years 2010-2019), a total of $15 billion in proven, effective ways to keep Americans healthier.Among other objectives, the fund is meant to curb the prevalence and costs of chronic diseases, which are responsible for 7 out of every 10 deaths in America. The Fund supports evidence-based initiatives that promote healthy eating and physical activity, support tobacco-free living and improve prevention services in low-income and underserved communities. The fact is prevention is a cost saving measure. By focusing on the health of people before they get sick, we can actually save money because we won't be treating their diseases at later stages. The fund has been threatened numerous times by the White House and Congress who are looking to reduce or even eliminate funds. Most recently, House leaders submitted a year-end proposal to use more than half of the Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for non-prevention related budget items. This would be a monumental step backward in transforming our health care system from one that only focuses on treating people when they get sick into one that strongly promotes disease prevention. That's why more than 40 groups, including American Public Health Association, American Lung Association and American Heart Association, are on Capitol Hill today participating in more than 70 meetings with members of Congress to remind them of the value of prevention. Nearly 50 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting recommended cancer screenings. We can't afford to balance the budget by cutting prevention, and shouldn't eliminate these funds before they've even had a chance to work.