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Prevention Institute




Prevention Institute

July 6th, 2012

Health Reform Rapid Response: The Conversation on Prevention

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act virtually in its entirety--affirming government's vital role in protecting and advancing the health and well-being of all Americans. This decision expands access to quality, affordable clinical care, and enables innovative community-based prevention initiatives across the country to move forward. Read PI’s full statement on the ruling here.

While we celebrate the opportunity to fully realize the prevention and public health benefits of the Affordable Care Act, we know that our work as advocates is far from over. The ACA and the ever-vulnerable Prevention and Public Health Fund face continued threats. Now more than ever, we need to make the case that the ACA can only fulfill its promise to improve America’s health and control costs if the prevention components of the law are fully implemented. By improving the places where people live, learn, work and play, community-based prevention keeps people from becoming sick or injured, in the first place. Healthy people living in healthy places are the foundation of a prosperous and sustainable future.

In last week’s avalanche of health reform coverage, community prevention and public health often got lost in the shuffle--though several stories, highlighted below, emphasized the vital role prevention will play in truly transforming our nation’s approach to health.

The Stories

  • Today’s decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affirms what most health professionals know: good public policymaking helps all Americans be as healthy they can be. Moreover, the Supreme Court, through its ruling, has preserved a set of critical reforms that rebalance our health system away from expensive, avoidable treatments and toward keeping people healthy.  --  Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, Brain Blogger, “High Court’s decision – Focus on prevention and the elimination of disparities”
  • While we celebrate this major public health victory, we must work to ensure the law reaches its full potential. Specifically, we must continue to protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a sound, long-term investment in the future of our nation's health. -- Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, “Landmark health reform law ruling a major public health victory, provisions still require support”
  • Beyond the continuing problems of how to cover treatment once people are sick is the escalating problem that comes one step before that: dealing with efforts to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.  -- Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, “Roberts saves Obamacare: Now the real work of reform begins”

Tips to guide your conversation

  • True health reform hinges on community prevention. The Affordable Care Act will not achieve its full potential to improve America’s health without sustaining and expanding investments in prevention and public health. By improving the places where people live, learn, work and play, community-based prevention keeps people from becoming sick or injured, in the first place.
  • The Prevention and Public Health Fund’s unprecedented investment in community-based prevention has already saved money and lives. Community prevention funding is a smart investment that will pay off by building health--preventing people from getting sick in the first place. Supporters in Congress call prevention funding "one of the most significant cost controls in the health care legislation.” For every dollar we spend on prevention, we see a five-to-one return on investment in just five years. We simply can’t fix our economy without it.
  • The American people support prevention. 73% of the public support resources that go to community prevention initiatives. Even when community prevention efforts are tied to higher taxes, the majority of the public still favors them--and support is even stronger for the kinds of efforts federal legislation is focused on right now: bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables into our stores, providing healthier lunches for kids, and protecting our communities and children from tobacco. These strategies protect the health of children and families.
  • Community prevention is local. Our communities know what’s wrong, and when we work together, we can make it right. The good news is we can fix many of the health problems we face, and prevent other problems from starting. We have skilled, creative and dedicated people who can make our region the best it can be. When we work together—our public health department, cities, schools, businesses, and community-based organizations—we can overcome even the most tenacious problems--and the Prevention and Public Health fund is already supporting communities in doing just that.

What you can do:

  • Register now for an Upcoming Web Forum: SCOTUS, Health Reform & the Prevention Fund: The Road Ahead for Public Health and Community Prevention. Please join us on Tuesday, July 31, at 11:30 am PDT for a Dialogue4Health web forum about today's Supreme Court decision's implications for for community prevention, and next steps for prevention advocates. Sponsors are the American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute, Trust for America's Health, Public Health Institute, and PolicyLink. Register now.
  • Make sure we have your zip code. This way, we’ll be able to send you tailored information about any relevant calls to action in your neighborhood and state. Update your information here.
  • Write a blog, op-ed or letter to the editor of your local paper. Browse our media advocacy kit for tips.
  • Have a successful example of community prevention in action? Please share it with us so we can include it in our talking points.
  • Visit our Health Reform Advocacy page for more information.

Transportation bill takes a detour from health

Today, President Obama signs the Surface Transportation Bill. This legislation may put many Americans to work--but they won’t be working to improve public transit access, and the bill doesn’t create a transportation system that encourages walking and biking. Many parts of the bill that promote safe, healthy communities were stripped out--including Safe Routes to School funding. Find out more about the Surface Tranportation Bill and contact your Congresspeople today.  

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