For Immediate Release: February 13, 2012
TFAH Statement on the Presidentís Budget Announcement: Deeply Disappointed by the Proposed Cuts to Prevention, CDC
Washington, DC, February 13, 2012 – The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is deeply disappointed by the proposed cuts to prevention and public health programs, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The following is a statement from Jeff Levi, Executive Director of TFAH, who also serves as Chair of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
“We deeply regret that the Administration has proposed to disinvest in prevention at the same time that the nation faces mounting, preventable health care costs. We recognize that these are difficult fiscal times, but cutting prevention is penny wise and pound foolish, and will only end up increasing the economic burden to the health care system and adding to the deficit over the long run.
The President has made poor short-term and long-term choices by proposing to cut base funding for the CDC by $660 million, including its signature Community Transformation Grant program (cut by $80 million), and suggesting a long-term reduction in the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund) by $4.5 billion over the next ten years. This will hurt the health of all Americans. The Fund was intended to provide for an expanded sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs, with a goal of improving health and helping restrain the rate of growth in health care costs.
The 11 percent cut to CDC’s budget authority is the largest cut within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – and is approximately a $1.4 billion cut (over 20 percent) since Fiscal Year 2010.
Under this budget proposal, the Administration increasingly uses the Fund to supplant base budgetary activities. This is a particularly unwise and shortsighted use of the Fund, and conflicts with the purpose of the Fund, which is to spur new, transformative investments that will create a healthier and more prosperous nation and reduce health care costs.
Prevention is the key to lowering health care costs and creating a long-term path to a healthier and economically sound America. The Fund is providing resources to support evidence-based strategies that can achieve significant gains such as reducing average body mass index (BMI). A new analysis by TFAH shows that reducing the average BMI by just five percent – the goal set for the Community Transformation Grants that the Administration proposes to cut – could lead to nearly $30 billion in health care savings in just five years.
This proposed budget is the first step in a lengthy process. As we continue to plan for the future, it is important to recognize the role prevention and the Prevention Fund play in helping Americans stay healthy. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure we maintain our investment in prevention.”
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. www.healthyamericans.org