For Immediate Release: June 23, 2009
Trust for America’s Health Supports Public Health and Prevention in House Health Reform
Washington, D. C. June 23, 2009 - Trust for America's Health (TFAH) is supportive of the prevention, wellness, and public health proposals outlined in the House health reform discussion draft. Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health on the public health and prevention measures of the proposed bill.
"Without strong prevention programs and a strengthened public health capacity surrounding and supporting clinical care in the U.S., health reform cannot succeed," Levi said at the hearing. "There are few times that we have the privilege of watching history being made. This may well be one of them. If the public health provisions of this draft become law, in the years ahead we will witness the transformation of our health system from a sick care system to one that emphasizes prevention and wellness."
"By placing an emphasis on prevention and wellness in the discussion draft, this committee is responding to a compelling call from the American people to improve the health of our country," Levi continued.
In a recent bi-partisan poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies for TFAH, Americans ranked prevention as the most important health care reform priority, and overwhelmingly support increasing funding for prevention programs to reduce disease and keep people healthy. Seventy percent of Americans ranked investing in prevention between an eight and 10 on a scale of zero to ten, where zero means not at all an important health care priority and 10 means very important. Forty-six percent rated prevention as a 10 out of 10. Overall, prevention was rated higher than all other proposals, including providing tax credits to small businesses and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage based on health status.
TFAH has worked with more than 200 organizations to articulate the importance of prevention and wellness to health reform. Key prevention and public health proposals in the House discussion draft include:
- The creation of a National Prevention and Wellness Strategy that clearly defines prevention objectives and offers a plan for addressing those priorities; and
- The establishment of a Public Health Investment Fund, which would be financed through a mandatory appropriation to support expansion of community health centers and public health functions and services that surround, support, and strengthen the health care delivery system. The Public Health Investment Fund would support core governmental public health functions, population level non-clinical prevention and wellness programs, workforce training and development, disparity issues, and public health research to improve the science base of prevention efforts.