Earlier this month, Rep. Walden introduced H.R. 3922, the “Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation Act of 2017,” or the “CHAMPION Act,” to extend funding for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, teaching health centers and other primary care programs. While federal funding extensions for these programs are critical, the CHAMPION Act proposed to fund them at the expense of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the nation’s only dedicated investment in prevention and public health programs. In response, AADR sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership opposing the use of the Prevention Fund as an offset.
The House has now released a revised version of the CHAMPION Act, which folds in reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Unfortunately, the Prevention Fund fares worse in the revised legislation, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, than in the original version passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee: a proposed $10.5 billion (or 75 percent) cut over the next eight years as opposed to the initial $6.35 billion proposed cut. Importantly, the revised bill would phase the Fund out after two years.
As a reminder, the Prevention Fund accounts for roughly 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) budget, which includes funding for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. Among the grant dollars, nearly $4 million is provided for state oral health programs. The Fund also supports community prevention programs, such as tobacco cessation programs.
UPDATE: On Friday, November 3, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3922 by a vote of 242 to 174. The bill included cutting the Prevention Fund by $6.35 billion, back to the Committee-approved level.
A number of organizations in the health funding community are speaking to members of Congress about the importance of the Prevention Fund, but ultimately, members of Congress want to hear from their constituents — you! We encourage those who support the Prevention Fund to reach out to their elected officials to educate them about the Prevention Fund and the harmful effect these cuts could have on public health, including public health research.
AADR has created an action alert to make contacting your elected officials easy.
Trust for America’s Health has also compiled a number of resources that may be helpful for your outreach:
- Chart detailing Prevention Fund’s current funding and funding under H.R. 3922
- Funding cuts by state under H.R. 3922
- Letters from health groups opposed to Prevention Fund offset
- “Investing in Public Health is Good for Nevada,” a case study on the need for both community health centers and public health
If you have any questions about the Prevention Fund or about additional ways you can take action, please contact AADR Assistant Director of Government Affairs Lindsey Horan.