Health Department Leaders Urged to Stand Against a Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
by Sheryl Monks, MFA
Both the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are urging their members to stand against the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which could severely jeopardize the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). In a statement posted on its website, NACCHO recently offered PPHF talking points and encouraged its constituents to take immediate action by calling or emailing members of Congress. Public health programs are at risk of losing $900 million in funding, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may incur annual budget cuts of up 12%.
PPHF subsidizes a wide variety of public health initiatives, including the 317 Coalition immunization program, epidemiology and lab capacity grants, Elder Falls Prevention, chronic disease self-management grants, the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, the CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, heart disease and stroke prevention, and diabetes prevention, to name just a few, all of which are at risk of receiving potentially devastating cuts.
This week, ASTHO will hold its annual Leadership in Government meeting in conjunction with Hill Day, which together features state and national experts on media, management, and legislative issues. New health officials are encouraged to speak with governors, legislators, the media, local public health leaders, and other key partners. Executive Director Michael Fraser recently outlined some of the key messages ASTHO will be sharing with Congress:
“This year’s Leadership Meeting is particularly important, given the very real possibility of severe cuts to state and territorial public health programs. We’re currently facing a potential double whammy: repeal without clear replacement of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, as well as anticipated FY18 budget cuts to non-defense discretionary programs. This could have a major impact on funding for state and territorial health agencies. When Congress members learn from leaders about the impact of funding cuts on their state’s public health capacity, they are more likely to think twice about cutting public health funding.”
The following resources provide a number of ways you can advocate on behalf of the PPHF:
- NACCHO Action Alerts
- Prevention and Public Health Fund Detailed Information, developed by the Trust for America’s Health Prevention and Public Health Fund
- Advocacy Toolkit: CDSME and Falls Prevention, developed by the National Council on Aging
- Don’t Repeal Prevention and Public Health by the Society for Public Health Education
- APHA’s PHACT Campaign
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JPHMP Direct is the online companion site of THE JOURNAL OF PUBLICH HEALTH MANAGEMENT & PRACTICE and the first point of contact for news media seeking interviews with public health experts about emerging stories and perennial issues concerning population health in the United States and abroad. To connect with our authors and other public health officials, contact Sheryl Monks by phone or email to arrange an interview or discuss story ideas.
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