President Barack Obama today outlined his long-term plans to reduce the federal deficit by an additional $3 trillion over 10 years that include new tax revenues and reductions in spending, including a proposed $3.5 billion cut to the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
“Today’s proposed cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund could put the nation’s health at risk,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the American Public Health Association and Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Hunter College. “This fund is a critical investment as part of the Affordable Care Act, and APHA is deeply disappointed in today’s proposal to backtrack on this commitment.”
The president’s proposal would reduce by nearly one-fourth the original fund investment of $15 billion over 10 years.
“Preventing disease and injury is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health in the United States,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, in a statement. “In a rush to secure short-term fiscal responsibility, let’s not tie one hand behind our back in our efforts to prevent chronic diseases and curb health spending.”
The Prevention and Public Health Fund, created as part of the Affordable Care Act, supports local, state and federal efforts to reduce obesity, curb tobacco use, increase access to preventive care services, as well as to respond to public health threats and outbreaks.
The president’s proposal also includes spending reductions of some $320 billion in Medicare, and $73 billion in Medicaid and other health programs, the vast majority of it from health care providers, not beneficiaries, according to a report by National Public Radio.