Report: ACA Prevention Fund at Work in State and Local Public Health

June 20, 2012
by Dylan Scott
Governing Magazine


A mere 3 percent of U.S. health-care spending is invested in preventing health problems, although 75 percent of the nation’s health-care costs are related to preventable conditions, according to a new report released Wednesday by the American Public Health Association (APHA). But plans are in motion to reverse that trend. A key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and thus a program whose future is in limbo until the Supreme Court rules on the law, is the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a funding stream that is slated to pump billions of dollars into federal, state and local prevention efforts.

The Prevention Fund has already invested $1.25 billion into public health initiatives during fiscal years 2010 and 2011 (see interactive table below for state allocations), according to the APHA analysis. Another $1 billion is budgeted for FY 2012 and, under the ACA, the fund would increase to $2 billion annually by FY 2016. Although some advocates are frustrated over the shifting of prevention money to fill gaps in other health programs (as Governing documented when President Barack Obama’s FY 2013 budget was released earlier this year), APHA found ample evidence that the Prevention Fund is making an impact in expanding preemptive public health activities.


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