How the $1 Trillion Spending Bill Affects Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund
By SMART Health Claims
$1 billion cut from the Prevention and Public Health Fund proves to be a myth.
At the end of last week, the President signed a new bill that allocated more than $1 trillion in federal spending. The bill will ensure the government won’t shutdown again through at least October. Most important for those in the public health sector though, is the widely-reported news that the new bill cut $1 billion from the Public Health and Prevention Fund. Fortunately, it’s just a myth.
The news is completely incorrect, and there have been no cuts to the fund that has become so important to improving the health of our communities.
Before we get into discussing the myth about the $1 billion in funding cuts, here’s a little refresher on the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
- The Fund is a key component of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” as it has become popularly known)
- The Fund operates under the assumption that a healthier country is a more productive country, and works to promote active, healthy lifestyles
- The Fund is America’s first ever mandatory federal funding for public health
- The Fund includes $15 billion in public health funding from 2010 to 2021, and $2 billion a year in perpetuity after that
- The Fund has already allocated $290 million in grants to local health departments to help spread awareness about preventable diseases
- The Fund enhances immunization programs around the country
So how do so many reputable news sources misreport that $1 billion in spending was slashed from the Prevention and Public Health Fund? A couple reasons:
- The new spending bill is a 1500+ page behemoth, so there’s bound to be a few things missed when a reporter wades through it
- The $1 billion in spending for the Prevention and Public Health Fund wasn’t ever explicitly stated as such and was instead listed as individual line items allocated with the rest of the $1.1 trillion
Not convinced? Here’s Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa (the man who wrote the section on the Prevention and Public Health Fund within the Affordable Care Act) explicitly debunking the news reports:
Harkin: Omnibus Allocates, Does Not Eliminate, Funding for Prevention and Wellness
Here’s a few choice quotes from Senator Harkin:
“I read that in the paper this morning that the prevention and wellness fund was cut by a billion dollars. Well, that’s just not so. That’s just a misinterpretation. Believe me, if it had cut a billion dollars from prevention and wellness, I wouldn’t be here supporting the bill.”
“If there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that the fund is alive and well and fulfilling the purpose for which it was originally intended, consider this — the American Public Health Association has praised this omnibus bill specifically for allocating the prevention fund and they said — and I quote — 'We are also pleased that the bill fully allocates available funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for the first time' — end of quote.”
The Prevention and Public Health Fund is alive and well, helping to ensure that local health departments can continue to function at high levels to improve our nation’s health and productivity.