House bill would cut Prevention and Public Health Fund
Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft proposal (known as the Champion Act) to reauthorize community health center funding and other critical health programs. Outrageously, the proposal pays for these vital programs by raiding $6.35 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The Senate may similarly propose the use of the Prevention Fund as an offset to pay for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
We fully support efforts to reauthorize these programs but not by using money that supports community prevention efforts. We can’t fund critical health priorities at the expense of public health efforts to improve community health and safety. Raiding the Prevention Fund is a short-sighted move that will cost money, not save it. By investing in what works to keep people healthy and safe in the first place, every dollar we spend on prevention yields approximately $5.60 in savings down the road. Access to quality, affordable medical care and community-based prevention work hand-in-hand to improve health and equity. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, and the Prevention and Public Health Fund all require full funding to reach their potential.
The richest country on earth does not need to choose between investing in prevention and covering needed healthcare services for children and people of low income. We can and must invest in both, and that means Congress must find another way to pay for the Champion Act.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will be marking up this draft bill tomorrow. Please call the members of this committee TODAY and tell them you oppose the use of the Prevention and Public Health Fund as an offset to pay for other vital health programs. Call the Capitol switchboard -- (202) 224-3121 -- now, and please share this alert with your colleagues and ask them to do the same.