The American Health Care Act proposed by House Republicans plans to slash a major public health fund, and it has doctors and public health experts worried.
The Prevention and Public Health Fund was established under the Affordable Care Act to give a boost to the funding public health agencies have to keep people from getting sick.
The fund supports the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, among other groups.
Today, it makes up about 12% of the agency’s budget, or about $US1 billion. The CDC describes it as “the nation’s first mandatory funding stream dedicated to improving our nation’s public health system.”
The majority of the funds get passed on to state and local public health efforts.
The American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and the American Lung Association all said they wouldn’t support the Obamacare replacement bill, in part because it repeal of the fund. And more than 500 public health organisations wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on March 3, calling on him to keep the fund.
Among other things, the Prevention and Public Health Fund is used for:
- Diabetes prevention
- Increasing vaccine coverage
- Education and prevention efforts for Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease and stroke prevention
- Helping local public health officials detect and monitor infectious disease outbreaks, like measles, Zika, or bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
Former CDC director Tom Frieden tweeted his concerns about the agency losing money.
“An outbreak can happen anywhere,” Schuchat said. “It’s not a red- or blue-state kind of thing. And we want to sustain the defence of Americans’ health from these new emerging threats.”
If CDC loses prevention $: children less safe from vaccine-preventable illness, families less safe from hospital infections, food less safe.
— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFrieden) March 9, 2017