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Prevention Institute

March 15th, 2013

Health Reform Rapid Response: The conversation on prevention

Budget season started in force this past week as both the House and Senate released their federal budgets for the 2014 fiscal year. The federal budget represents much more than the mere allocation of dollars and cents - it expresses our country’s core values and priorities.  The budget proposals released by Congress invoke timeless American values: expanding opportunity, ensuring fairness, protecting children and families, exercising fiscal responsibility, and forging a brighter future for the next generation. We need to seize this opportunity to speak up for federal prevention and public health funding by demonstrating how prevention aligns with our core national values.

The stories:
The following stories showcase how to use our national values to make the case for prevention.

  • Child poverty hurting all of West Virginia (Spirit of Jefferson) points out how West Virginia can build a brighter future by reducing child poverty and its impact on health. “All of our children deserve a chance to succeed and prosper. We must continue to invest in our children and get to the root of these problems. By reducing child poverty in West Virginia, we lessen the need for drug treatment, medical treatment and prison space in years to come, while at the same time paving the way to a brighter future for our citizens.”
  • Communities Help End Fresh Fruit Deserts (The Chronicle) frames prevention as a way to expand opportunity to achieve health and well-being through access to affordable, healthy foods. “Rebecca’s Store Grocery & More is the first local participant in the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. Funded by the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Community Transformation Grant Project, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative encourages local retailers to add healthy food options to their shelves, making it more convenient for their customers to make healthy choices."
  • Medical Attention Required: Sequestration and the 'U.S. Health Disadvantage' (Huffington Post) shows the continued need for advocates to make the case that investing in prevention is fiscally responsible because it reduces healthcare costs in the long run. “Many people know that the U.S. spends far more per person on healthcare than any other nation on the planet. But a growing body of research now shows that Americans -- rich or poor, minority or not -- suffer from a widening ‘health disadvantage’ when compared to citizens of other high-income countries. 

Tips to guide your conversation:

  • Cutting funding from public health and prevention programs takes away the opportunity for millions of Americans to live in healthy communities.
  • It’s not fair to make more cuts in communities that are already suffering from lack of investment (e.g., places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, safe places to play and be physically active, and basic infrastructure like sidewalks).
  • True fiscal responsibility demands investment in prevention. Every dollar invested in prevention generates five dollars in savings. Prevention bends the healthcare cost curve by making it possible for people to be healthy in the first place.

What you can do

  • Frame your community's prevention efforts in terms of our national values in a letter to the editor, or post a comment on a news story in support of public health and prevention funding. Send us an email if you get published, and we’ll include it in our next Rapid Response.
  • Visit our Health Reform Advocacy page for additional tips on how to frame your community successes.

Cuts! Cuts! Cuts! What the Federal Budget Mess Means for Prevention, Your Community and You (Webinar)

When: March 21st, 2013, 11 am - 12:30 pm PST

Now that Sequestration has gone into effect, federal agencies and departments are beginning to implement severe across the board cuts to programs, services and activities. Important questions remain unanswered. What will this mean for public health and prevention? Behind the hard numbers, how will the impact be felt in communities fighting to address the devastating burden of chronic disease and health inequities? What can advocates, health professionals and community residents do now to try to protect funding for prevention and public health?

Register today to explore these questions, learn about the current budget proposals, and discuss outreach tools and messages that community prevention champions can use to educate legislators and decision makers on the importance of prevention.

Sponsored by the American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute,
the Public Health Institute, and Trust for America's Health.

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