The AAMC sent an Oct. 1 letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) endorsing the Public Health Infrastructure Saves Lives Act (S. 4740), a bill to invest in public health infrastructure across the country.
The measure was introduced by Murray and 18 Democratic co-sponsors. It would provide funding that will reach $4.5 billion annually by fiscal year 2025 and beyond to “establish a core public health infrastructure program to strengthen the country’s public health system—including the nation’s ability to respond to the COVID–19 pandemic—through grants to State, territorial, local, and Tribal health departments and increased investments at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” according to Murray’s Oct. 1 press release.
The bill aims to support core public health functionalities including preparedness and response, public communications, addressing health equity, and developing community partnerships.
“After decades of chronic underfunding at the national, state, and local levels, the country’s public health system has been forced to combat the wide-ranging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, layered on top of myriad other pervasive health challenges and threats,” said AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD.
“To operate most optimally, the nation’s health care system – including our member teaching hospitals and their affiliated medical school faculty – relies on a healthy public health infrastructure. Every individual benefits from a strong commitment to this goal,” she added.
Murray stressed the importance of the nation’s public health system — particularly its infrastructure — saying, “Public health infrastructure saves lives—and the better funded and prepared our public health system is before a crisis, the more lives it will be able to save during one. We cannot afford to ignore this reality, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our communities.”
The legislation is endorsed by more than 50 state and national organizations.