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DHPE Recommends Balanced Budget Approach to Deficit Reduction for FY 2014

Thursday, July 18, 2013   (0 Comments)
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DHPE Recommends Balanced Budget Approach to Deficit Reduction for FY 2014:
Cautiously Optimistic about Senate FY 2014 Spending Bill

Members of the Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) strongly support the FY2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, as passed in full committee of the Senate. While this bill recognizes health as a national priority and provides a much needed boost to public health by investing in the agencies and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), DHPE is still gravely concerned about the impact of public health cuts to date, including sequestration. Members are cautiously optimistic that during this time of austerity the Senatehas moved forward witha pre-sequestration funding levelthat prevents furthererosion of programs that can reduce health care costs, improve quality of life, and improve business' bottom line. Together, HHS' agencies and programs keep Americans performing at their best in school, at work, and in this nation's military. In this challenging budget environment, we especially appreciate efforts to balance critical investments evenly across the public health continuum. In so doing, this bill demonstrates a strong commitment to improving health holistically through prevention, treatment, service delivery, and research.

We urge Congress to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Otherwise, efforts to protect these and other domestic programs from further erosion in FY 2014 and beyond will be for naught. We are troubled that:

  1. there remains a fundamental lack of understanding about public health programs, both the value they provide in helping Americans lead healthy, safe, and productive lives; and,
  2. there remains a fundamental lack of urgency to address our fiscal challenges in a meaningful way—by replacing sequestration and addressing the true drivers of the debt.

Continued cuts to public health programs are already having negative impacts on real Americans, and the impact will only worsen without a bipartisan deal to replace sequestration. We continue to urge Congress and the Administration to work together to address our fiscal situation in a bipartisan way that protects discretionary programs—including public health—that have already borne the brunt of responsibility for deficit reduction.

The schedule of [302(b)] allocations set by the House of Representatives puts the overwhelming burden of recommended cuts on Labor, HHS and Education budgets. The House's allocation is $44B less than that recommended in the President's budget request and less than the Senate's Labor-HHS Spending bill, both of which support investments in programs needed to protect and improve the health of our populace.

We have a special concern about the implications for the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC). The CDC hasa unique role in enhancing Americans' health and well-being. We knowthat prevention can decrease health care costs by making sure people don't get sick in the first place. Health inequities put low-income communities and communities of color most at risk. Without meaningful investments in prevention, we'll all be left behind.Preventing disease and injury before they occur is the smart way to ensure good health.Prevention is based on decades of solid science.

Investing in prevention isn't just good for our health; it's good for business, too.Right now, local businesses spend $153 billion each year on chronic diseases that are preventable--- money that could instead be spent to hire more workers, reinvest in the business, and support a vibrant, healthy workforce.Investing in prevention is an investment in everyone's future.

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