Public Policy

Threat to Prevention and Public Health Fund Defeated

By Peter Kyriacopoulos, Senior Director of Public Policy, APHL

On September 14, the U.S. Senate defeated an attempt to eliminate the funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund — created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health reform law.

Voting on a procedural matter, the Senate rejected an amendment offered by Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska that would have used the resources in the Fund as an off-set for a new federal income tax reporting requirement that will be implemented by the Internal Revenue Service in 2012. The vote was especially significant because of the eight vote margin by which it was defeated, even though there was an extremely strong push by the business community that encouraged the Senate to pass the amendment.

The final vote tally can be found here; a letter of support from Secretary Sebelius (Health and Human Services) and Secretary Geithner (Treasury) is here.

The public health community has never come together so quickly and worked together as cohesively as it did in the effort to preserve the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This accomplishment will be easily replicated for any future attempts to reduce or eliminate the Fund and should send a very clear message to those who seek other uses for it: “Hands Off!”

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