Washington, D.C. (February 16, 2012)—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) opposesCongress’ plans to cut $5 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to offset the costs of halting cuts to Medicare physician payments. This cut limits the Fund’s ability to reduce rising rates of chronic disease, which will only cost the nation more in the long run.
“We know there are difficult decisions to be made on the budget. But it’s counterintuitive to cut the singular major investment to prevent the diseases that kill Americans and reduce their quality of life, and increase health care costs,” said NACCHO’s executive director Robert M. Pestronk. “This critical work has already been undercut by several previous rounds of federal, state and local budget cuts. Local health departments have the tools to bend the cost curve, but without sufficient investment, activities cannot be put into practice in a way that will have the greatest impact on health spending in programs like Medicare.”
The PPHF supports the early and rapid detection of diseases and injury, continuous quality improvement in public health practice, and community-based initiatives to stem the epidemic of preventable disease and make health an easier choice. The Fund also supports immunizations and innovative chronic disease grants, and strengthens training for the public health workforce.
“Cutting prevention to pay for medical care just doesn’t make sense,” Pestronk said. “Chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are driving Medicare costs up and account for 70 percent of all deaths and 75 percent of all health care costs.”
To learn more about how the local public health workforce has already been affected by recent budget cuts, visit http://www.naccho.org/jobloss.
About the National Association of County and City Health Officials
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities.