Higgins Dismayed By Vote Taking Away Cancer Prevention Programs
April 15, 2011
Congressman Says Cuts will lead to Increased Costs and Unnecessary Deaths
Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted against Repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund, H.R. 1217, legislation which would repeal $34.59 million in grants to New York State aimed at assisting community efforts to prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe.
“As Congress is working on a framework to control our country’s economic future, let’s remember that an ounce of prevention can avoid a ton of costs,” said Congressman Higgins. “Repealing a health fund that has targeted and positive impact on controlling health costs and saving lives makes zero sense. Worse than that, this move would increases costs, cause unnecessary deaths and weaken our country’s economy. This is a step backward when we need to move our country forward.”
A product of the Affordable Care Act, the Prevention and Public Fund (Fund), is intended to help prevent tobacco use, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, increase immunizations, and empower individuals and communities with tools and resources for local prevention and health initiatives.
Through the Department of Health and Human Services and the Fund, New York State was awarded approximately $34.59 million in grants to help improve wellness and prevention efforts, including:
- $4,213,000 for Community and Clinical Prevention Activities such as primary and behavioral health integration and tobacco cessation. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer, with more than 222,000 new cases expected in the U.S. in 2010.
- $4,027,000 for Public Health Infrastructure such to prepare health departments to meet 21st century public health challenges and adequately train existing and next generation public health professionals.
- $26,349,000 for Primary Care Training to strengthen the comprehensive health care workforce, increase family and general medicine professionals, and improve patient access to primary care.
A report from Trust for America's Health entitled Prevention for a Healthier America concluded that “small strategic investment in disease prevention could result in significant savings.” Specifically, investing $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs that increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save our country more than $16 billion annually within 5 years. In other words, it would save $5.60 for every $1 spent.
Nearly 600 Groups are opposed to repealing the Fund, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Cancer Action Network American Cancer Society. For the full letters and additional letters opposing repeal, click here.
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