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Prevention and Public Health Fund Proposed for Elimination to Avoid Sequestration

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In an effort to avoid sequestration, the House Budget Resolution (aka, "The Path to Prosperity”) requires authorizing committees to come up with savings through a process called "budget reconciliation.” The House Budget Resolution assigned specific levels of reduction that each authorizing committee must find. This process is underway; all ideas must be sent to the budget committee by April 27.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Public Health Service Act, passed its budget reconciliation proposal out of committee on April 25. Included in its proposal are a complete elimination of the Prevention and Public Health (PPH) Fund and a rescission of all unobligated balances.

Knowing that this budget reconciliation proposal would be voted on this week in committee, ASTHO and NACCHO sent the following letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee urging them not to take this cut.

For a full listing of the House budget reconciliation proposals, including the rationales for them, see this memo issued by the House Republican Leadership.

Since the Senate will not be sending budget reconciliation instructions to their authorizing committees, the process underway in the House is viewed by many as election-year politics with no chance of becoming law, as these proposals will not see the light of day in the Senate. Regardless of whether or not they become law this year, it is important for us to monitor and watch these proposals as they may come up again either after the election (potentially during the lame-duck session) or in future congresses.

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Prevention and Public Health (PPH) Fund Proposed for Elimination to Offset the Student Loan Interest Rate Reduction

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 2, 2012

H.R. 4628, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, is a bill to keep the interest rate on federal Stafford education loans low. To offset the costs associated with this, the House is proposing to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund and rescind all unobligated balances (which is virtually all of the FY 2012 funds allocated through the Fund, including all funding for Community Transformation Grants, the National Public Health Improvement Initiative, $190 million worth of Section 317 Immunization funding, all Environmental Public Health Tracking, $40 million worth of Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity funding, etc.).

To see the full list of PPH Fund allocations for FY 2012 and the FY 2013 President's budget request proposal see the attached chart .

The bill will be up for a vote before the full U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, April 27. ASTHO sent an Action Alert to all state health officials, senior deputies and state legislative liaisons on April 26. A link to ASTHO's Action Alert can be found here.

ASTHO and NACCHO sent a joint letter to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi on April 26 expressing concerns with using the PPH Fund as an offset.

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Prevention Fund News

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 30, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

Much of this news comes from Trust for America's Health and is very worthy of a quick read. Hopefully, we will see a strong reversal of fortunes for the Prevention Fund. First, during House debate on the Interest Rate Reduction Act, Prevention Fund supporters made a series of strong floor statements. While H.R. 4628 ultimately passed 215-195, the Senate is expected to move its version of the student loan legislation, without using the Prevention Fund to pay-for the student loan provisions, when it returns from a week-long recess.

The President released a strong Statement of Administration Policy.  "Unfortunately, rather than finding common ground on a way to pay for this critical policy, H.R. 4628 includes an attempt to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created to help prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe. Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer. This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America's college students deserves. If the President is presented with H.R. 4628, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.” Other positive statements include:

  • A dear colleague from Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-CT) --. "Authorized in the Affordable Care Act, the PPH Fund is a mandatory fund to augment existing investments in prevention and public health programs to improve health and control the health care cost rate of growth. The fund is the first mandatory funding mechanism dedicated to improving public health.”
  • A floor statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) – "Why would we – and not only, to make matters worse, not only are they suggesting that we take the money from the prevention fund, the immunization and screening for breast cancer, and cervical cancer, and other women's health issues, not only are they saying we should take the five or six billion dollars from there, they're saying we should take the additional $5 billion that would be left in the account and repeal it – repeal it."
  • A House Democratic Whip notice -- "The Prevention and Public Health Fund assists state and community efforts to prevent illness and promote health, so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives. Last year, funding went to 61 communities and states, benefitting 120 million people. Nearly 800 public health, prevention and other health and wellness advocates strongly oppose repeal of this fund. Repealing this funding erodes a key component of the ACA that is making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.”

Please step up your efforts to keep your Congressional members informed of your state and community health efforts. Now, of all times, is not the time to be quiet.

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National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) Advocates for National School Nutrition Standards: Ag Bill Passes Out of Senate Ag Committee

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 30, 2012

The Agriculture Appropriations bill that passed out of the Senate Ag Committee this week included report language advocated by NANA in support of National School Nutrition Standards for foods sold through vending machines, school stores, a la carte and other foods sold outside of school meals.  This is an important first step toward supporting strong USDA standards and protecting them from being weakened by Congress.  Thanks to the NANA members who have up on the Hill educating Congress about the standards -- this was the result of a lot of work and a strong joint effort.  

Competitive foods language on page 62 – see below…

National School Nutrition Standards. - The Committee notes that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 included a broadly supported provision which requires the Department to update the standards for foods and beverages sold in schools through vending machines, a la carte in cafeterias, school stores, and other venues outside the school meal programs. The Committee urges USDA to develop and implement school nutrition standards that are consistent with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with consideration given to existing standards developed by health experts, industry, States, and local school districts. The Department should carefully consider comments made in response to proposed regulations.

Download File (PDF)

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Prevention and Public Health Fund Under Attack

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 27, 2012

Your voice is desperately needed…TODAY!

The Prevention and Public Health Fund continues to come under attack in the U.S. House of Representatives. On Friday, April 27, the House will vote on legislation that would cut $6 billion from the fund to offset an increase in student loan interest rates. In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Committee also voted earlier this week to repeal the fund. DHPE sent the attached letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week asking the Committee to oppose cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Feel free to use the text of this letter as your talking points.

It is critical that your representative hears from you today that efforts to cut the fund are unacceptable. In fact, they endanger important efforts that are at work in our communities to improve children's health and student achievement!

Please take the time to send a message to your representative telling him/her to protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund!

You can also call your representative to express your opposition to the bill by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Click here to look up your representative. Background information on the Prevention and Public Health Fund can be found on the DHPE and APHA website.

Download File (PDF)

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Economic Development Administration Grants

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 19, 2012

EDA is seeking applications for the $200 million FY 2012 Disaster Relief Opportunity, which supports communities that experienced severe economic stress as a result of federally- declared natural disasters between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. Funds support development strategies that foster economic recovery and resiliency. Applications are accepted, reviewed and considered on a continuing basis.

Click for more information

EDA is seeking applications to support job creation in economically distressed areas. Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program grants could be used to support local renewable energy, green building, energy efficiency, and recycling projects. The deadlines are: June 8 for funding cycle 4 of FY 2012; September 14 for funding cycle 1 of FY 2013.

Click for more information 

 

 

 

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HHS Funding Announcement for Health Food Financing Initiative Projects

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 13, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services just announced a funding announcement for Healthy Food Financing Initiative projects designed to improve access to healthy food.  The Community Economic Development program (CED) will provide up to $10 million of funding to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) for projects located in food deserts and designed to improve access to healthy, affordable foods.  Applications are due June 5th.  For more information.

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The Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 29, 2012

The eyes of the country are on the Supreme Court this week as the justices begin their consideration of the constitutional issues raised by the Affordable Care Act. The court heard four arguments this week:

  • Monday, they heard the case on the Anti-Injunction act;
  • Tuesday, they heard arguments on the individual mandate;
  • Wednesday, they heard arguments on severability, and; they heard arguments on Medicaid.

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House of Representatives is expected to vote on H. Con. Res. 112

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dear Members:

TODAY, March 29th, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on H. Con. Res. 112, also known as the FY 2013 budget resolution.

This budget resolution contains significant cuts to nondefense discretionary spending. In particular, the resolution proposes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, drastically restructure and reduce benefits under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and reduce funding for public health and important safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62% of the huge budget cuts will come from programs that benefit lower-income Americans.

Please contact your Representative TODAY and ask them to vote "NO” on the FY 2013 budget resolution.

Some talking points include:

  • This proposal will threaten our core public health infrastructure, the workforce, and the economy.
  • This proposal will negatively impact our most vulnerable populations and further exacerbate health disparities.
  • Protecting the nation's health by investing in prevention and evidence-based public health programs is a priority.
  • Disabling these vital programs will hurt communities, families, and individuals of all ages.
  • Investing in prevention is vital to ensuring the long-term fiscal health of the nation.

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Prevention Still the Best Solution to Preventing Chronic Disease, Mr. President

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), along with hundreds of other national, state and local organizations, have sent a letter to President Obama expressing deep disappointment in the Administration's support for reducing the investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund). The proposed cut to the Fund in the President's draft FY2013 budget helped pave th e way for the $6.25 billion cut that was recently signed into law as part of the agreement for a temporary Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) fix. This represents a step backward in our nation's commitment to prevention and compromises the country's ability to make progress on cost containment, public health modernization, and wellness promotion. The letter asks President Obama to oppose any future cuts in the Fund publicly .

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, created by the Affordable Care Act, is a historic investment toward improving the country's health and quality of life, reducing health care costs for families and businesses, and increasing productivity so the country can compete with the rest of the world. It provides the chance to change our sick care system to a true health care system that focuses on keeping people healthy in the first place and ensuring that today's children aren't at risk of living shorter, less healthy lives than their parents. As public health promotion practitioners, we know that eliminating shortfalls resulting from Medicare's flawed SGR formula with cuts to the nation's first dedicated Prevention and Public Health Fund is short-sighted and counterintuitive. Cutting prevention to pay for doctors' visits is illogical – prevention is the best way we have to actually improve the health of Americans and reduce their need to go to the doctor in the first place.

To learn more about what public health leaders and DHPE are saying and doing about this issue and other public policy issues, please see the final letter to President Obama that will be delivered with copies to the House and Senate.

Visit our Health Policy & Advocacy page and accompanying blog, you will also learn about ways that you can get involved in advocacy for key issues important to DHPE and our members.

Download File (PDF)

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