TFAH report

According to a report release by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, public health funding has dropped by more than $1.3 billion from fiscal years 2008 to 2013, an average decline of more than $6 per American. Photo by TFAH and RWJF

We know that community-based public health returns $5.60 for every $1 invested in it. Unfortunately, as a report released Wednesday by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found, some states fund public health in their communities much more weakly than others.

According to “Investing in America’s Health 2014,” public health funding has dropped by more than $1.3 billion from fiscal years 2008 to 2013, an average decline of more than $6 per American. The average state invests $27.49 in public health per person, but some states lag far behind — such as Missouri, which averages just $5.86 per person.

While state and local funding has been cut dramatically in the last five years, federal funding has remained flat.

“Overall, the report concludes that a sustained and sufficient level of investment in prevention at all levels of government is essential to improving health in the United States, and that differences in disease rates will not be changed unless an adequate level of funding is provided to support public health departments and disease prevention efforts,” TFAH stated in the report.

TFAH’s five recommendations to “build upon and expand — not supplant — existing effort” in public health included:

  • increasing core funding at federal, state and local levels;
  • allocating funding more strategically and efficiently;
  • using the Prevention and Public Health Fund to address more contemporary health challenges than when it was created through the Affordable Care Act in 2010;
  • clearly communicating where public health dollars are invested; and
  • reducing funding disparities between states and counties.

Find out how your state invests in your health on pages 8-9 of the report.