SOPHE statement on American Health Care Act moving forward in Congress

Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Needs Full Funding

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) again urges Congress to protect American’s access to health care and to fully fund disease prevention and health promotion as part of the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA).

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis earlier this week, some 24 million Americans would be uninsured under the proposed legislation, which would restructure the Medicaid program that provides a vital health safety net for low-income individuals and families.

“Cutting health care coverage for vulnerable populations will increase emergency room use and health care expenditures in the long run,” says Elaine Auld MPH, MCHES, SOPHE’s Chief Executive Officer. In addition to millions of Americans that would lose coverage under the proposed legislation, costs for those who remain insured are projected to increase up to 20 percent more in 2018 and 2019 than they would have risen if the Affordable Care Act were to remain the law of the land.

The ACHA legislation also underestimates the impact of disease prevention and health promotion in lowering health care costs. Auld adds, “We know that investing just $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years.”

The legislation proposes devastating cuts to the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides evidence-based programs that keep people from developing illness and helps them manage their illness to avoid costly hospitalization.

“We can’t afford to lose protections in health coverage and funding for vital disease prevention programs,” says Auld.

SOPHE encourages House and Senate leadership to pursue improvements to the health care, health insurance, and public health system using regular order legislation with adequate hearings, markup, and input from the public health community.

Contact: Dr. Cicily Hampton, Senior Director, Health Science & Policy | 202.408.9804 | CHampton@SOPHE.org