More than 175 organizations issued the following letter of support to the President, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to strongly support comprehensive health reform efforts, emphasizing the need to modernize and increase funding for disease prevention, wellness, and public health in the United States, according to a press release from the non-profit, non-partisan organization Trust for America’s Health.
"Dear Mr. President/Senator/Representative:
“In recent months, we have inched closer to something that has eluded us for decades â€” comprehensive health reform. From the prevention, public health and health workforce provisions, to the insurance market reforms, to the expansion of coverage, we believe key elements included in both the House and Senate bills would represent a new direction for America's health care and public health systems.
“As you determine the next steps this nation will take to advance the nation's health, the undersigned organizations urge that as you move forward, you will maintain the comprehensive nature of this reform package and enact legislation that ultimately promotes prevention and wellness, bolsters our health care and public health workforce, and expands coverage while controlling costs and reforming the insurance industry. Though the path ahead may be uncertain, we urge you to seize this opportunity to make a real difference in the way that this country delivers health.
“In particular, in whatever vehicle you ultimately enact, we urge your continued support for the establishment of a dedicated funding mechanism for prevention and public health. As you know, both the House and Senate bills included mandatory funding for prevention and public health through a Prevention and Public Health Fund and a Community Health Center Fund (Senate bill) and a Public Health Investment Fund (House bill). The Senate-passed bill provides a combined $25 billion for its Prevention and Public Health Fund and Community Health Center Fund, and the House-passed bill includes a total of $33.9 billion for its Public Health Investment Fund. We strongly support inclusion of no less than the House-passed amount in the final bill. We also urge you to ensure that the final bill provides sustained investments of guaranteed funds for prevention and public health. Further, the bill should ensure that new funding will supplement, not supplant, our current investment in prevention and public health.
“The opportunity that we have before us today â€” to enact comprehensive health reform that emphasizes prevention and wellness, instead of just disease treatment â€” may not come again for decades. Americans need strong leadership during these trying times. The unprecedented investments in wellness and prevention included in the House and Senate bills would help us to forge a new way forward by enabling us to build stronger, healthier, more resilient communities. Toward that end, we urge you to include a dedicated funding mechanism for prevention and public health in the final bill.”