The Affordable Care Act created the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund), which represents an unprecedented investment in programs that help keep Americans healthy. If left untouched, the Fund will provide $15 billion over 10 years to state and community efforts to prevent illness and promote healthy living. The programs supported by the Fund focus on issues that are important to the American Heart Association (AHA), such as increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, preventing and reversing childhood obesity, and preventing tobacco use.
Since the Fund has been enacted, some Members of Congress have disagreed about the value of investing in Prevention. To counter this argument, the AHA participated in “An Ounce of Prevention” Advocacy Day in December, aimed at educating lawmakers on the importance of prevention funding and asking for their support to protect and preserve the Fund. Thirty-eight groups participated in the event and met with staff of 72 members of Congress.
The good news is that the Fund survived 2011 and remains intact– for the moment. The bad news is that it will continue to be a target for cuts. In addition, the Fund will be subject to automatic funding cuts in 2013 that were negotiated last year
AHA will continue to work with our partners to preserve this important source of funding that can help move this nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention.