For Immediate Release: February 17, 2009
Trust for America’s Health Commends Congress, Obama Administration for Historic Investment in Prevention and Wellness
WASHINGTON, DC - Trust for America's Health (TFAH) commends the U.S. Congress for supporting more than $1 billion for prevention and wellness in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. The investment will support more than 20,000 public health jobs and help contain the nation's skyrocketing health care costs.
"Congress wisely voted to make a historic investment in prevention and wellness," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "TFAH commends the Obama Administration for their support of the funding and Congress for this smart stimulus strategy. This investment will have a big payoff, helping to create jobs in the short-term, reinforce the health safety net during our economic hard times, and reduce health care costs in the long term. The Prevention and Wellness fund is an important down payment for health care reform - helping lower health care costs by keeping Americans healthier."
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act includes $1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund that will support evidence-based clinical and community-based prevention and wellness strategies, including $300 million for immunizations, $650 million for community prevention programs, and $50 million for reducing healthcare associated infections. In addition, $500 million was included for bolstering the health and public health workforce.
This funding could save or create 20,000 public health jobs, including helping to restore some of the 11,000 public health workers that have already been laid off. The services public health agencies and organizations provide will also help reinforce the community health safety net for the unemployed, uninsured, and underinsured during the economic downturn.
The bill calls for investing in evidence-backed, community-based disease prevention programs and includes accountability measures to ensure the funding is being used to directly improve the health of Americans. Congress has also directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to come up with an accountability plan within 90 days for spending the resources in the most effective way possible.
Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.