Expressing Our Shared Values to Make The Case for Health, Equity and the Role of Government
After three weeks the government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis has finally ended—at least for the moment—and critical public health programs across the country can now reopen. The shutdown was more than just another demonstration of division and gridlock in Washington. It was caused by those in Congress who are determined to block the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and who dismiss the importance of the very government they serve. But the shutdown also pointed out the vital importance of government and the services it provides—and highlights a fundamental question of our national values. Here's how we framed the values that we see at stake in the debate over healthcare and the role of government, in a statement earlier this week:
At Prevention Institute, we feel the need to speak up and remind people that government actually provides critical services to all of us. Our work is about forging policies that make our communities more equitable, our people healthier and our nation stronger. We need to make the case that expanding access to health care is good for everyone. We need to affirm the Affordable Care Act and the validity of the electoral process that led to it. And we need to stand up for diversity as a fundamental US value that makes our lives and our country richer. A more perfect union is at stake.
We disseminated this analysis on Monday in an alert and in blogs at Forbes.com and the Huffington Post. The piece, Shutdown Power Play: Stoking Racism, Fear Of Culture Change To Push Anti-Government Agenda, looked at the shutdown’s harmful impacts on vulnerable people and communities and explored how racism is shaping much of the antipathy being unleashed against the Affordable Care Act and government in general. It also affirmed the crucial role that government—our government—needs to play in ensuring access to health and justice for all.
This week, we’re asking you to address these core values as you make the case for federal prevention and public health funding in an Op-ed, letter to the editor, or by releasing a statement from your organization or coalition. As prevention champions, we all need speak up in support of this ‘more perfect union,’ and a clear statement about values is a powerful way to help to drive home this message. Be sure to demonstrate how prevention—and government’s role in public health—aligns with our core values: it helps to expand opportunity, ensure fairness, protect children and families, exercise fiscal responsibility, and forge a brighter future for the next generation.
Here are some more examples in the news and from our partners:
- A Huffington Post, “Government Shutdown Is Bad News For Women, Infants and Children Program” from Arthur Delaney explores how the shutdown isn’t just bad for our national economy at large—it’s bad for our families and children. Programs like WIC and SNAP, which were placed in jeopardy by the shutdown, provide critical services to families most in need.
- “As Country Moves Closer to Near-Universal Coverage, Community Health and Prevention Must Become Focus of Healthcare,” a blogpost from Public Health Institute’s Mary Pittman demonstrates why shifting our health system to invest in communities isn’t just the right thing to do—it will save money, too: “More than ever, the healthcare sector has reason to invest in longstanding public health priorities such as disease prevention and community health improvement—not just as required community benefit programs or good will gestures, but as an essential business strategy.”
- “Government Shutdown: Bad for Equity, Bad for the Economy,” a piece from our partners at Policylink, states: “Perhaps not surprisingly, low-income people and people of color have been hurt first and worst by the shutdown. Nearly two million federal workers will not receive a paycheck this week, and people of color are significantly represented among these workers—35 percent compared to 30 percent in the broader workforce.”
Please join us and our partners in speaking out.