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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Joins Letter Supporting Prevention and Public Health Fund

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The AAMC March 3 joined over 500 organizations on a community sign-on letter urging President Trump to protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund (the Prevention Fund), which the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) authorizes. The Prevention Fund was established by the ACA to supplement appropriations for prevention and public health activities under the Public Health Service Act, although funding in recent years has supported base programming at health agencies as federal budget constraints have increased.

    The letter, coordinated by Trust for America’s Health, cautions President Trump that “repealing the Prevention Fund without a corresponding increase in the allocation for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) appropriations bill would leave a funding gap for essential public health programs, and could also foretell deep cuts for other critical programs funded in the bill.”

    Additionally, the letter highlights the fact that the Prevention Fund is more than 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget and that “eliminating the Prevention Fund would be disastrous to the CDC budget and programs, and to the LHHS bill as a whole, leaving a nearly $1 billion budget hole which would be impossible to fill under current discretionary spending caps.”

    The budget reconciliation recommendations marked-up in committee by the House to repeal and replace the ACA (see related story) would eliminate the Prevention Fund starting in fiscal year (FY) 2019. Additionally, the new administration plans to release a FY 2018 budget request during the week of March 13. Preliminary details revealed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney state that the president intends to propose a $54 billion increase in defense spending offset by cuts to non-defense discretionary funding [see Washington Highlights, March 3].

    Separately, the AAMC joined more than 300 organizations on to a similar letter to House and Senate leaders underscoring the importance of the Prevention Fund and impacts of its elimination [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 13].