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  • ACOEM Urges President to Oppose Efforts to Eliminate Prevention and Public Health Fund

    April 1, 2011 

    President Barack Obama
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, D.C.
    20500

    Dear President Obama:

    The following leading national public health organizations would like to express serious concern over recent Congressional proposals to eliminate, reclassify or substantially reduce the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund), an essential provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Collectively, we urge you to strongly oppose such efforts.

    As you know, the Fund is a dedicated investment in community prevention and state and local public health infrastructure and workforce and is a much‐needed down payment on the health and economic well being of all Americans. The Fund is among the most significant provisions in ACA that help achieve a goal you set during the 2008 campaign, “Simply put, in the absence of a radical shift towards prevention and public health, we will not be successful in containing medical costs or improving the health of the American people.”1

    Nearly 600 national, state, and local organizations (see attached) support the Fund as a primary vehicle for making public health investments that would create jobs and help to lower long‐term health care costs. The Fund fills a role that has the support of the American people ‐‐ a public opinion survey conducted by TFAH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) found that 71 percent of Americans favored an increased investment in disease prevention.

    States are already using Prevention Fund dollars to build epidemiology and laboratory capacity to track and respond to disease outbreaks, train the nation’s public health workforce, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduce tobacco use, and help control the obesity epidemic. The Fund’s mandatory status guarantees an ongoing commitment to prevention unprecedented in today’s “sick care” system, and eliminating it would be an enormous step backwards in our progress on cost containment, public health modernization, and wellness promotion. Senator Tom Harkin said it best in recent public testimony, “Two thirds of the increase in health care spending between 1987 and 2000 was due to increased prevalence of chronic diseases. The Prevention Fund gives us an unprecedented opportunity to bend the cost curve: overall, the return on investment in community‐based prevention interventions is six dollars for every dollar invested.”

    Millions of dollars in mandatory funding are spent each year via the Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs to pay for health care services once patients develop an acute illness, injury or chronic disease and present for
    treatment in our health care system. Yet prior to the creation of the Fund, there was no equivalent funding for efforts to promote wellness, prevent disease, and protect against public health or bioterror emergencies. At a time when today’s children are in danger of becoming the first generation in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents, we need to get serious as a nation about our commitment to prevention, wellness, and preparedness.

    Once again, we urge you to oppose efforts to reclassify or eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund. If we are serious about turning our sick care system into a disease prevention system and making wellness a priority, then now is the time to increase, rather than decrease our commitment to prevention and public health efforts.  

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    1 Obama ’08, “Barack Obama’s Plan for a Healthy America: Lowering Health Care Costs and Ensuring Affordable, High‐Quality Health Care for All.” Available from: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/HealthPlanFull.pdf  

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    Craig E. Thompson
    Executive Director
    AIDS Project Los Angeles 

    O. Marion Burton, MD FAAP
    President
    American Academy of Pediatrics 

    Mark Ishaug
    President and CEO
    AIDS United 

    Roberta S. Carlin, MS, JD
    Executive Director
    American Association on Health and Disability 

    Eric J. Hall
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Alzheimer's Foundation of America 

    Warner Hudson, MD
    President
    American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 

    Larry Hausner
    Chief Executive Officer
    American Diabetes Association 

    Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E)
    Executive Director
    American Public Health Association 

    Nancy Brown
    Chief Executive Officer
    American Heart Association 

    Edward Grandi
    Executive Director
    American Sleep Apnea Association

    Charles D. Connor
    President and CEO
    American Lung Association 

    Michael Fraser, PhD CAE
    Chief Executive Officer Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs 

    Michael A. Barry, CAE Executive Director
    American College of Preventive Medicine 

    Denise Graham
    Executive Vice President
    Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology 

    Scott Goudeseune
    President and CEO
    American Council on Exercise 

    Scott J. Becker, MS
    Executive Director
    Association of Public Health Laboratories 

    Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA
    Executive Director
    Association of State & Territorial Health Officials 

    Robert Restuccia
    Executive Director
    Community Catalyst 

    Karen Probert, MS, RD
    Executive Director
    Association of State & Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors 

    Andy Fisher
    Executive Director
    Community Food Security Coalition

    Bill Remak, BSMT, BSPH, SGNA, AHCJ
    Chairman, California Hepatitis C Task Force
    Chair, National Association of Hepatitis Task Forces 

    Patrick J. McConnon, MPH
    Executive Director
    Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists 

    Matthew L. Myers
    President
    Campaign for Tobacco‐Free Kids 

    Ron Pollack
    Executive Director
    Families USA 

    Catherine Dunham
    Executive Director
    Children's Dental Health Project 

    Thelma King Thiel
    Chair and CEO
    Hepatitis Foundation International 

    Jonathan E. Fielding, M.D., M.P.H
    Director and Health Officer
    Los Angeles County Department of Public Health 

    Ho Luong Tran, M.D., M.P.H.
    President and CEO
    National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians 

    Raquel Algarin
    Executive Director
    Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center 

    Keith Mason
    Executive Director
    National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention 

    Robert M. Pestronk
    Executive Director
    National Association of County and City Health Officials 

    Lark Galloway‐Gilliam, MPA Chair
    National Health Equity Coalition 

    Hutson W. Inniss
    Executive Director
    National Coalition for LGBT Health

    Daniel C. Montoya
    Deputy Executive Director
    National Minority AIDS Council 

    Sheila Franklin
    Executive Director
    National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity 

    Joseph Kimbrell, MA, LCSW
    Chief Executive Officer
    National Network of Public Health Institutes 

    Tine Hansen‐Turton
    Executive Director
    National Nursing Centers Consortium 

    Jeffrey Basinger
    Executive Director
    Northern Colorado AIDS Project 

    Teri Mills MS, RN, CNE President
    National Nursing Network Organization 

    Angela Glover Blackwell
    Founder and CEO
    PolicyLink 

    Lark Galloway‐Gilliam, MPA
    President
    National REACH Coalition 

    Larry Cohen, MSW
    Founder, Executive Director
    Prevention Institute 

    Debbie I. Chang
    Vice President, Policy & Prevention
    Nemours

    Mary Pittman
    President and CEO
    Public Health Institute 

    Robert Gogats
    President
    New Jersey Association of County and City Health Officers 

    Ron Bialek, MPP, CQIA President/CEO
    Public Health Foundation 

    Marice Ashe, JD, MPH
    Executive Director
    Public Health Law & Policy 

    Mickey S. Urdea, Ph.D.
    CEO and Chairman Tethys Bioscience, Inc. 

    Ellen Rautenberg
    President and CEO
    Public Health Solutions 

    Michael Ruppal
    Executive Director
    The AIDS Institute 

    Kevin Mills
    Vice President of Policy
    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

    Jeffrey Levi, PhD
    Executive Director
    Trust for America's Health 

    Amber N. Williams
    Executive Director
    Safe States Alliance 

    Jonathan Lever
    Vice President for Health Strategy & Innovation
    YMCA of the USA 

    Service Employees International
    Union, CTW, CLC