Omnibus spending bill allocates Prevention & Public Health Fund money
January 22, 2014
by Liz Borkowski
An important investment, competing with other worthwhile priorities
The Fund’s creation was a welcome step toward redressing US under-investment in public health. In a fact sheet about the Fund, the American Public Health Association notes that in the US, “only 3 percent of our health care spending is focused on prevention and public health, when 75 percent of our health care costs are related to preventable conditions.” The Department of Health and Human Services website gives examples of the kinds of programs the Fund supports in each state, including anti-tobacco and anti-obesity campaigns, vaccine modernization efforts, and prevention-focused data collection and research. As Kim Krisberg wrote in post for the 2013 National Public Health Week, such programs can pay off in later healthcare savings, and that knowledge informed the Fund’s creation:
In 2008, the nonprofit [Trust for America's Health] released an oft-cited report on the cost savings related to investments in disease prevention. The report found that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based efforts that increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent tobacco use could save the nation more than $16 billion annually within five years — that’s an ROI [return on investment] of $5.60 for $1 invested. In fact, [TFAH President Jeff] Levi said that one of the reasons for passage of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the landmark funding stream included in the Affordable Care Act, was that advocates were able to show the potential for ROI.
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