• Public Affairs

  • ACOEM Joins Coalition Opposing Cuts to Prevention and Public Health Fund

    March 27, 2012

    The Honorable Barack H. Obama
    President of the United States of America
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    As leaders of national organizations committed to the public’s health, we are writing to express our deep disappointment in your Administration’s support for reducing the investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund). The proposed cut to the Fund in your FY2013 budget helped pave the way for the $6.25 billion cut that was included in HR 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which you signed into law in February. This represents an enormous step backward in our commitment to prevention and compromises our ability to make progress on cost containment, public health modernization, and wellness promotion. We urge you to publicly state your commitment to oppose any future cuts in the Fund.

    Less than five percent of national health spending is devoted to public health. Prior to creation of the Fund, there was no reliable investment to promote wellness, prevent disease and protect against public health or bioterrorism emergencies. The consequences of years of neglect are clear – hundreds of billions of dollars in mandatory funding are spent each year through Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs to pay for health care services once patients develop an acute illness, disability, injury, or chronic disease and present for treatment in our health care system.

    Reflective of the fact that evidence-based prevention programs are the key to reducing health costs, prevention was one of the three key pillars of health reform. The Prevention and Public Health Fund was created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and designed as a guaranteed funding stream and an ongoing commitment to prevention. While the cost of the Fund represented just two percent of the outlays authorized by the ACA, states and communities are already using these prevention dollars to build epidemiology and laboratory capacity to track and respond to disease outbreaks, train the nation's public health workforce, modernize vaccine systems, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, reduce tobacco use, promote behavioral health, prevent injuries, help control the obesity epidemic, reduce health disparities, and build the evidence base to continually enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these public health programs.

    This small but vitally important investment is essential if we are to reduce the growth of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which are the primary drivers in the increase in health costs. Research shows that if current trends continue, obesity rates could be expected to grow from 32 percent to 50-51 percent for men and 45-52 percent for women by 2030.1  Based on historic trends, by 2030 the United States would spend an additional $66 billion a year on treating obesity-related conditions, while experiencing a loss in economic productivity as high as $540 billion. According to a recent study in Health Affairs, current obesity-related medical costs total $147 billion a year, or nearly 10 percent of all annual medical spending, based on 2006 data. However, if we are able to reduce average body mass index by five percent the United States would save $29.8 billion in five years, $158.1 billion in ten years, and $611.7 billion in twenty years.

    One important solution seems clear: preventing chronic diseases from happening. Over the next ten years, we have the opportunity to utilize the now $12.5 billion in the Fund to invest in innovative programs that will help make healthy choices the easy choices for Americans. The remaining investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund should be dedicated to new and transformative programs that will modernize our public health system, as they were intended to be under the ACA.

    We hope you will work with us to ensure that the Prevention and Public Health Fund is not subjected to any further cuts, and is used as it was intended: to invest in transformative programs that will modernize our public health system, lower health costs and help create a long-term path to a healthier and economically sound America. This Fund has earned the support of more than 720 national, state and local organizations which recognize the importance of prevention (see attached list). Your strong public support is imperative.


    1Y Claire Wang, Kim McPherson, Tim Marsh, Steven L Gortmaker, Martin Brown. Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK. Lancet. 2011:378: 815-25.

    Normandie Nigh
    Chief Executive Officer
    A World Fit for Kids!

    Patricia M. Babjak
    Chief Executive Officer
    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH
    President and Chief Executive Officer

    William G. "Bill" Robertson
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Adventist HealthCare, Inc

    Carole S. Treston, RN MPH
    Executive Director
    AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families

    Victor A. Barnes
    Chief Executive Officer
    AIDS United

    LeeAnn Hall
    Executive Director
    Alliance for a Just Society

    Robert W. Block, MD FAAP
    American Academy of Pediatrics

    Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, PhD, RN,FAAN
    Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
    American Association of Colleges of Nursing

    Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, RPh
    Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
    American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

    Deborah Carr
    Executive Director
    American Association of Poison Control Centers

    Roberta Carlin
    Executive Director
    American Association on Health and Disability

    John R. Seffrin, PhD
    Chief Executive Officer
    American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

    T. Warner Hudson, MD FACOEM, FAAFP
    American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

    Mike Barry, CAE
    Executive Director
    American College of Preventive Medicine

    Larry Hausner
    Chief Executive Officer
    American Diabetes Association

    Nancy A. Brown
    Chief Executive Officer
    American Heart Association|American Stroke Association

    Gregory Miller
    American Hiking Society

    LaVarne A. Burton
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    American Kidney Fund

    Charles D. Connor
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    American Lung Association

    Colin McCluney
    Education & Advocacy Fellow
    American Medical Student Association

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

    Edward Grandi
    Executive Director
    American Sleep Apnea Association

    John H. Klippel, MD
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Arthritis Foundation

    Kathy Lim Ko
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    Lance Toma
    Executive Director
    Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

    Allison L. Lewis
    Executive Director
    Association for Prevention Teaching and Research

    Marcus Williams
    Association of Black Cardiologists

    Susan Swider, PhD, APHN-BC
    Association of Community Health Nursing Educators

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

    James Walker
    Association of Population Centers

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

    Glynnis LaRosa, RN, MPH, CPHQ
    Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing

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

    Robert Bernstein, PhD
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

    Matthew L. Myers
    Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

    Michael F. Jacobson, PhD
    Executive Director
    Center for Science in the Public Interest

    Victor Colman, JD
    Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition

    Catherine Dunham
    Executive Director
    Children’s Dental Health Project

    Emily J. Holubowich
    Executive Director
    Coalition for Health Funding

    Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH
    Dean and DeLamar Professor of Public Health
    Senior Vice President, Columbia University Medical Center
    Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine

    Gerard M. Farrell
    Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
    Executive Director, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc.

    Vincent Lafronza
    CommonHealth ACTION

    Robert Restuccia
    Executive Director
    Community Catalyst

    Debra Fraser Howze
    Senior Vice President, Orasure Technologies
    Corporate Hepatitis Alliance

    Hrant Jamgochian
    Executive Director
    Dialysis Patient Citizens

    Susan Goekler
    Executive Director
    Directors of Health Promotion and Education 8

    Bruce Menin
    Executive Director
    Disability Policy Consortium

    Alice Chen, MD
    Executive Director
    Doctors for America

    Leslie Spencer
    Interim Chairperson
    Health Promotion Advocates

    Andrea Weddle
    Executive Director
    HIV Medicine Association

    Deborah L. Wexler, MD
    Executive Director
    Immunization Action Coalition

    Thomas G. Slama, MD, FIDSA
    Infectious Diseases Society of America

    William P. Gallagher Jr., DC

    Dr. Jennifer L. Howse
    March of Dimes

    Harry MacMillan
    MEND Foundation

    David L. Shern, PhD
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Mental Health America

    Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
    Presiding Moderator
    Metropolitan Community Churches

    Julie Scofield
    Executive Director
    National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors

    Linda Juszczak, DNSc, MPH, MS, CPNP
    National Assembly on School-Based Health Care

    Patricia W. Potrzebowski, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems

    John Robitscher
    Chief Executive Officer
    National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

    Larry E. Naake
    Executive Director
    National Association of Counties

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

    Ron Manderscheid, PhD
    Executive Director
    National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

    Marie Fallon, EdD
    Chief Executive Officer
    National Association of Local Boards of Health

    Matthew Lesieur
    Vice President for Policy
    National Association of People with AIDS

    Susan Vaughn
    Director of Public Policy
    National Association of State Head Injury Administrators

    Hutson W. Inniss
    Executive Director
    National Coalition for LGBT Health

    Melissa Merson
    Executive Director
    National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

    William Smith
    Executive Director
    National Coalition of STD Directors

    John Rother
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    National Coalition on Health Care

    Linda Rosenberg
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

    Eric Rodriguez
    Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation
    National Council of La Raza

    James Firman
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    National Council on Aging

    Mel Knight, REHS
    National Environmental Health Association

    Keith Mason
    Executive Director
    National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention 11

    Lark Galloway-Gilliam
    National Health Equity Coalition

    Jeannette Noltenius, MA, PhD
    National Director
    National Latino Tobacco Control Network

    David Chatel
    Executive Vice President of Advocacy
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society

    Joseph Kimbrell, MA, MSW
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    National Network of Public Health Institutes

    Tine Hansen-Turton
    Chief Executive Officer
    National Nursing Centers Consortium

    Lark Galloway-Gilliam
    National REACH Coalition

    Barbara Tulipane
    President and CEO
    National Recreation and Park Association

    Debbie Chang, MPH
    Vice President, Policy and Prevention

    Astril Webb, MD
    Director, Health and Family Services Division
    North American Management

    Linda Bailey
    President and CEO
    North American Quitline Consortium

    Michael Mawby
    Chief Government Affairs Officer
    Novo Nordisk

    Hardy Spoehr
    Executive Director
    Papa Ola Lokahi (Native Hawaiian Health Board)

    Jud Richland, MPH
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Partnership for Prevention

    Daniel T. Lichter
    Population Association of America

    Jennifer Pennock
    Director, Government Affairs
    Prevent Blindness America

    Carolyn Aldige
    President and Founder
    Prevent Cancer Foundation

    Danny Saggese
    Prevention Connections

    Larry Cohen, MSW
    Founder and Executive Director
    Prevention Institute

    Ron Bialek
    Public Health Foundation

    Mary A. Pittman, DrPH
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Public Health Institute

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

    Ellen Rautenberg
    President and CEO Public Health Solutions

    Kevin Mills
    Vice President of Policy and Trail Development
    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

    Cindy Pearson
    Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

    Jeff Jordan
    President and Founder
    Rescue Social Change Group

    David Auxter
    Research Institute for Independent Living

    Robert Valdez
    Executive Director
    RWJF Center for Health Policy

    Deborah Hubsmith
    Safe Routes to School National Partnership

    Amber Williams
    Executive Director
    Safe States Alliance

    John Santelli, MD, MPH
    Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

    Elaine Auld
    Chief Executive Officer
    Society for Public Health Education 14

    Becky Vaughn
    Chief Executive Officer
    State Associations of Addiction Services

    Mickey Urdea
    Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman
    Tethys Bioscience, Inc.

    Peter V. Berns
    Chief Executive Officer
    The Arc of the US

    Rev. Pat Bumgardner
    Executive Director
    The Global Justice Institute

    Sam Blair
    Network Director
    The Main Street Alliance

    Harriette Fox
    Chief Executive Officer
    The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health

    Jan E. Patterson, MD, MS
    President, SHEA
    The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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

    Ed Foster-Simeon
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    U.S. Soccer Foundation

    Jeanne Blankenship
    United States Breastfeeding Committee 15

    William H. Bentley
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Voices for America’s Children