Public Health. Maybe after our experience in 2020 we can all agree now that it is important.
In the past, it has not gotten the support it should: funding for public health departments’ work has been slashed over the years at the federal, state, and local level.
We’ve been very shortsighted, or at least, some of us have. Public health is a smart investment and not an expensive one.
The Affordable Care Act created the Federal Prevention and Public Health Fund – a major step in the right direction – originally funding was set by Congress at $1.5 Billion/year.
Put this in perspective: the Pentagon Budget that passed this July was $740 Billion/year (and yes Representative DeLauro voted in favor of that https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6395.
The Public Health Fund was created in 2010 and already by 2012 the fund was being raided for cash. The funding was cut by 33% with bipartisan zeal, to pay for other “priorities.”
This measure that raided the Public Health Fund was passed by the House and Senate despite the strenuous objections of Tom Harkin of Iowa, then chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and foremost champion of the Public Health Fund in Congress, who called the cut “outrageous and unacceptable.”
Seantor Harkin was so angry he said ““I haven’t spoken to Barack Obama since.”
But it still got a yea vote from Rosa DeLauro. https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/3630.
This article is long, but worth reading – Public Health needs our attention, it’s been getting short shrift for too long.
It’s time Congress started taking it seriously.
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