The Prevention and Public Health Fund is Under Attack

By Peter Kyriacopoulos, Senior Director of Public Policy, APHL

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the lead Congressional staff on health reform who detailed a serious threat to the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the federal health reform law.

This attack on the fund will come on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 from Senator Mike Johanns who wants to divert the public health fund to pay for continuing to allow small businesses to not accurately report their expenses and income to the Internal Revenue Service. The diversion from the fund would cover the lost federal tax revenue that would result from the accurate reporting currently required by law. Unrelated to any tax reporting issue, Senator Johanns’ amendment also reduces by 2 million the number of people covered by health insurance – which will likely raise premiums for all Americans.

It is wrong to pit the health of Americans and small businesses against each other when there are other ways to cover the cost of reporting business transactions. Senator Johanns’ amendment is bad for the Prevention and Public Health fund – and it would be bad for all Americans who need health coverage or pay for coverage. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida has an alternative that gives reporting relief to small business without attacking prevention fund – so that the fund can do its job and produce improvements in the health of Americans.

Now is the time for the public health community to strongly voice its opposition to the amendment that has been introduced by Senator Johanns.

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